— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on June 10, 2021, Thursday.
At the early stages of the pandemic, people in many countries rushed to stockpile instant noodles. Thanks to its convenience, instant noodle has been a hot commodity during the pandemic. In 2020, global demand for instant noodles reached around 117 billion servings. Instant noodle producers reported strong earnings and became popular amongst investors.
On June 1, Monde Nissin, the company that owns Philippine's best-selling instant noodle brand Lucky Me!, went public after raising over $1 billion. It is the biggest IPO so far in the country. A week later, the two families who are majority shareholders of Monde Nissin - one from Indonesia and one from Philippine - are now sitting on a total wealth of $3.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
Globally, the instant noodle business has minted quite some billionaires. Among them, Shin Chun-ho, the creator of Nongshim Shin Ramyun Instant Noodle, is the icon. He passed away in March, but his two sons are still among the richest men in South Korea, with a net wealth of $1 billion and $875 million respectively, according to Forbes. In Japan, Momofuku Ando, widely regarded as the inventor of instant noodles, had amassed a large amount of wealth when he died in 2007. The company he founded, Nissin Food, is still one of the world's largest producers of instant noodles to date. And Pham Nhat Vuong, the richest man in Vietnam, started his business by selling instant noodles. Now his estimated net worth is $8.2 billion, according to Forbes.
We've seen similar stories in many other countries as well. However, the instant noodle industry is facing a major challenge, namely the critics of it being unhealthy. Global demand for instant noodles declined three years in a row between 2013 and 2015 and many businesses folded up. In the long run, this will continue to be a risk for the industry. But in the short term, the instant noodle market will keep growing, with a CAGR of around 4%.
For the time being, instant noodles will remain an important part of instant food and we could see more billionaires minted from the sector.