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About instant noodles:

This ground-breaking processed food was invented in Japan.
Although ramen was the only product initially offered, now various products such as yakisoba (fried noodles), udon (thick wheat noodles), soba (buckwheat noodles), rice vermicelli, pasta, pho, somen (thin white noodles), and bean-starch vermicelli have also been developed. The manufacturing process of noodles continues to evolve in the order of fried noodles, non-fried noodles, and raw noodles.

Japan is the country of origin of instant noodles. Instant noodles remain a "national" light food. The average Japanese person eats 40 packs of instant noodles per year.

After their invention by Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Andō in 1958, instant noodles became very common in Japan. In the 1970s, makers expanded their flavors to include such examples as shio (salt ramen), miso, or curry. Beginning in the 1980s, makers also added dried toppings such as shrimp, pork, or eggs. Today, instant noodles are divided into two groups: "traditional" cheap (¥150 to ¥200) noodles with few toppings and expensive (¥200 to ¥500) noodles with many toppings, which are often packed into a pouch. Various kinds of instant noodles are produced, including ramen, udon, soba, yakisoba, and pasta.

Major makers in Japan are:
  • Nissin Food Products , whose famous brands include Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodles, has a 40.4% market share As of 2005.
  • Tōyō Suisan , nicknamed Maruchan, whose brands include Akai Kitsune and Midori no Tanuki, has a 19.2% market share.
  • Sanyō Foods , Sapporo Ichiban, has a 11.5% market share.
  • Myōjō Foods , Charumera, has a 9.9% market share.
  • Acecook , Super Cup, has a 8.3% market share.


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