Anyone who’s ever lived through some rather lean economic times knows that when it comes time to cut back on groceries, instant ramen noodles will be there for you at a low, low price. Heck, even if you’re not struggling, instant noodles are a popular mealtime option — so much so that 100 billion units were sold last year.
That’s enough for more than one serving a month per every single person on the planet, points out the AFP. Heck, with seven billion people in the world, we could each have eaten ramen once a day for two weeks on that amount, and we’re sure plenty of people did.
The portable meals prove the most popular in China, Indonesia and Japan, says the World Instant Noodles Association. China accounted for 44 billion servings, Indonesia slurped up 14.1 billion units and Japan rounded out the top three noodle-loving countries with 5.4 billion units sold.
“The results show that instant noodles have become a global standard dish,” said an official with the Japanese-based association.
“We think global sales will continue growing particularly in some developing nations.”
As anyone watching their budget — college students and noodle lovers alike — knows there’s something satisfying about boiling a package of dried noodles, adding some salty, flavored powder and having a meal in under five minutes.
But beyond their dorm room efficacy, instant noodles have come a long way from their debut in 1958, when they were introduced by Momofuku Ando, the founder of major noodle maker Nissin Foods. Metropolitan areas are increasingly opening up ramen eateries, noodle shops and other gourmet destinations, all based on that humblest of foods.