Snaxshot #28: NSFW, Got Your Noods?

slurp happens! 😈

A newsletter on upcoming food and beverage trends that offers a curation of brands and aesthetics written by Andrea Hernández.

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🔮 Peek into the future:

  • History of instant noodles + snaxshot of market

  • Introducing Noodie as a challenger brand

  • Who else is slurping around?

  • What’s new you ask?!

  • Spoonful of News + upcoming events

Ramen To Revenue 🍜

Even though the history of noodles dates back to China many centuries ago, there is evidence of a noodle that was boiled and then fried and served in a soup, similar to Yi noodle, the modern instant noodles made its debut back in 1958 created by Momofuku Ando, based in Japan. He enabled mass-production of instant noodles by establishing the entire process of industrial method of manufacturing:

  • noodle-making

  • steaming

  • seasoning

  • dehydrating in oil heat

This product was ready to eat just in 2 minutes by adding boiling water and was originally dubbed "magic ramen”—becoming instant popular sensation. So much that by 70s, “CUP OF NOODLES” was introduced and proved a taste of fresh slurp amongst saturation of market. The innovative cup combined three different functions

  1. Packaging material while on store shelves

  2. Cooker when boiling water is poured in

  3. Bowl when eating noodles

Apart from its convenience and versatility the rapid growth in popularity of instant noodles can be attributed to these principles Momofuku Ando instilled when developing food:

  • affordability

  • convenience

  • safety

  • hygiene

  • long shelf life

  • palatability

The concept of instant noodles, also enabled each region to fuse with ingredients in local cooking and traditional flavors. As decades have passed and as we continue to cross the better-for-you chasm, there’s been a rise in health-conscious noodles, it’s not something that’s novel to upcoming brands, legacy brands like Nissin picked up on this and started offering a more “nutritious” instant noodle since 2019, by 2021 you now have noodles that offer “functionality” from fiber, collagen, lower sodium, lower calories and …even adaptogens.

At this point, it would be convenient for you to have already demystified the stereotype that was the starving college student heating up ramen noodles in their microwave and understood that our obsession with noodles also stems from us having more access to different types of cuisine, and how this was the perfect combination of convenience, price affordability and diversity of flavors.

Should Legacy Brands Ramen Calm? 🥵

—Back in 2018, the instant noodles market was valued at $41.38 Billion and in 2021 it’s grown to $52 Billion.

—Global instant noodles market is expected to post a CAGR close to 5% during the period 2019-2023, according to the latest market research report by Technavio.

—US accounts for over 27.1% of global market size in 2020, US market is estimated at $7.7 Billion atm

—While China market is forecasted to grow at 3.5% CAGR ; 77% of growth in this category will come from APAC region.

—Sudden surge in better-for-you instant noodles amongst Millennials is the convenience and snackification trend alongisde demand for diverse flavors

—The pandemic SPIKED demand for instant noodles in Japan, these were the top contenders

—Market is semi-fragmented with majority of it dominated with OG players like Nissin. In 2019, Nissin launched a healthier alternative to their instant noodle.

—Nissin recently announched a Pumpkin Spiced Cup of Noodles, to the detriment of society. They also recently released a Cup of Noodle flavored ice cream.

Bowl Where No Broth Has Gone Before? 🥬

It would seem that instant noodles are being awoken up for much needed disruption, but who is really constructing this product out of its usual norm? And do they have a leg up by honing in on future visions of what instant noodles can be?

As I’ve written before it seems that we’ve passed through the better-for-you chasm, legacy brands are offering those alternatives already, but there is actually a brand that caught my eye as they are building instant noodles beyond the regular constructs of the usual slurp. Enter Noodie, based in NYC and officially launching next week, this female founded brand wants you to take a bet on their plant-based instant ramen that challenges the idea that healthy and delicious can’t be in the same sentence.

Noodie was developed in a college dorm room, they really are focusing on how to introduce a generous serving of veggies like bok choy, broccoli and kale on top of spirulina noodles. A single pack contains up to 16g of protein, however doesn’t include powder since the flavor is within the noodle and they are not fried, the brand also promises to contain 75% less sodium than competing products, which makes it the perfect 2am happening that won’t feel like bloated hangover the morning after. Their ramen takes 4 minutes to cook in their untraditional packaging, that dubs as a bowl, but somehow is in the shape of… is this a rectangle? So it’s already challenging the classic “cup of noodle” —the brand is launching three flavors, including vegan and vegetarian options, peanut chili, tonkotsu, and smoky garlic, which have already sold me on trying them.

It seems like 2020s is going to see legacy brands really feel the heat, pun intended, as more brands are being built by millennials and fitting to our criteria. Our generation is more demanding from food, maybe because we grew up on shit devoid of actual fucking nutrition?! Anyways, only time and slurps will tell, can these actually measure up to what we have grown accustomed to? We sure hope so.

Join Us For Our Last Slurper 👅

Like mentioned before, the concept of better-for-you ramen has been out for a while, here’s some other brands trying to compete in this space, consider it a yet to be fulfilled niche (similar to what has happened with other categories like ice cream and condiments)

Immi: Launched back in 2020 these noodles, with less than 1/3 of carbs and almost 3x the amount of protein, this brand is based in US and is offering their version 2.0 soon.

Future Noodles: Based in UK, made by Chef Carl Clark, another plant based instant noodle company that has IMO is a fun invitation to explore how to elevate this concept via recipes and their hashtag #PIMPMYNOODZ, lol, MTV should collab with them.

Shaman Raman: Honestly was asked my opinion on this and included it here just so you can see at what point of late stage capitalism we have arrived with food, adaptogenic ramen? STFU.

What If Foods: These noodles made from ingredients like bamnut, and moringa are not only playing on “healthier” but more sustainable noodles, though I am highly skeptical of their charcoal noodles, like wut?!

Vite Ramen: Keto ramen and this brand seriously wants you to eat this to go to the actual gym. Ramen powered workouts, *insert Paul Rudd meme* who would’ve thought?

Oracular Spectacular 🔮

Welcome to our favorite TV show, “What’s New You Ask"?” Usually post these on SXS Instagram but wanted to test this out on here, in case you need a more convenient place of reference to go back to.

Culture Kombucha: Based in Costa Rica, you know kombucha isn’t really cool, you wanna know what’s cool? CBD kombucha. The branding is dope though.

Chilli Cheeks: New chili crisp brand based in Brooklyn, I’m very much into their labels, just look at that font?

Cafe Limo: Do Not Panic. It’s coffee and lemonade, is it a Quebeçoise thing? Who knows but I’ve actually tried making this myself and thoroughly enjoyed it.

TINA: In line with rise of sober curious, a line of zero alcoholic canned drinks.

Shima: Like I said in last issue, the hard seltzer craze may seem to have died down but this is yet another sake seltzer brand I’ve come across, based in UK.

Drip: Can we agree this look is a good look for chili oil? 60/70s groovy vibe are a good juxtaposition to spice but it’s starting to be the new bland?

Terlingua: Super fun cold brew hailing from Austin that does give me Texan outdoor vibes in the best way.

SOLO: Based in Spain, this brand is relaunching their olive oil with a more GenZ friendly look.

Seeing Things 👁️

Here are brands that are launching soon:

  • Gordi Foods: Launching soon, YET another keto pizza crust but hey who am I to tell you what to buy? Or wait…

  • Midsummer: Sparkling lemonade has entered the “disrupted” chat?

Spoonful of News 🥄

  • Basil Street Pizza 🍕 is an automated machine that makes pizza and looks like an ATM. Thoughts?

  • Speaking of pizza, General Assembly, pizza-as-a-service, or subscription, relaunched with cooler branding.

  • You thought hard seltzer was dead, not according to MTN Dew.

  • Here’s an interview we did with Brad Esposito from “Very Fine Day” —do you know how hard it is to be funny in two languages?

  • Foxtrot market launches “Foxtrot Anywhere” a curated box program that ships nationwide. You can actually use SNAXSHOT for $20 off on your next box.

  • Pasta Tarot is a delicious deck made by Queer, Italian-Americans.

  • Speaking of Instagram, we will be live with Ben Dietz from [SIC] Weekly tomorrow, at 4PM ET, follow his IG to tune in.

SNAXSHOT AND RUBY ARE HOSTING A SNACK SEANCE NEXT WEEK IN NEW YORK CITY, MORE ON THIS HERE. 🌺

Snax Concierge 🛎️

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