China Food

Best selling for 50 years, taste master, marketing genius… How many secrets are hidden in the “unreliable” Riqing cup noodles?

for consumers, Riqing is delicious; For operators, Riqing is more like a book.

Text: Zora Zhou

Source: foodaily daily food (ID: foodaily)

What do you think of when you mention Riqing?
The marketing genius who’s always doing things? Wonderful advertising video? Or an unexpected two-dimensional joint name?
Riqing, who is out of the circle with brain hole marketing, is often joked by netizens as “a reliable brand with cup noodles and others that look unreliable”. Especially in 2021, in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the listing of cup noodles, Riqing launched a series of self releasing instant noodles peripheral products, each of which has become a topic on social networks and attracted countless people to punch in.
However, in fact, it is far from enough to use marketing to cover the reasons for more than 60 years of Riqing Changhong.
According to the data released by Riqing food in August 2021, the global cumulative sales of its classic product “cup noodles” exceeded 50 billion copies. Since its listing in 1971, it has been selling well for 50 years. In Japan, as of 2020, the highest operating income in history has been refreshed for four consecutive years. Cup noodles is also very popular all over the world. At present, it is sold in more than 100 countries.
What can Riqing, which started with instant noodles, become popular for more than 60 years? How was it born? What successful practices are worth learning from? What inspiration can it bring to domestic enterprises? Today, foodaily takes you into the world of Riqing, the ancestor of instant noodles.
From instant eating in a bubble to rushing into space:
Evolution of Riqing instant noodles
Ramen that you can eat after soaking in boiling water
After World War II, with the economic recession and food shortage in Japan, Chinese ramen, which is cheap and can satisfy hunger, began to be loved by people. On a winter night in 1957, passing by the heimen market near Osaka Station, Yoshiyuki Ando, founder of Riqing, saw people in shabby clothes lining up in the cold wind to eat a bowl of ramen. He realized once again the Japanese love for noodles and smelled business opportunities.
Ando Baifu’s cabin for developing instant noodles (reproduction), photo source: Riqing
After that, Ando Baifu began to study instant noodles with the goal of “delicious, easy to preserve, simple production, low price, safety and sanitation”.
However, Ando, who has no experience in making noodles, did not have a smooth road of research and development at the beginning. During that time, he slept an average of only four hours a day. After countless failures, Ando finally came to the ideal noodle formula. However, how to make noodles dry and easy to preserve, and how to put them in boiling water to eat have become new problems.
By chance, Ando Baifu got inspiration from his wife’s “fried tempura” and developed a new noodle drying process called “instant hot oil drying method”. After steaming, seasoning and drying the noodles, he fried them in hot oil at 160 ℃ for 2 minutes. When fried, the water in the noodles evaporates and becomes dry noodles. At the same time, due to the loss of water, the noodles will show a porous state. Therefore, it is extremely easy to absorb water. After injecting boiling water, it can be restored to the state just cooked in a short time.
Moreover, due to the reduction of water, the deterioration caused by microbial reproduction is inhibited, and the noodles can be stored at room temperature for 6 months.
Cross section of chicken juice ramen. Left: steamed noodles, medium: when fried in oil, the water in the noodles will evaporate, resulting in holes. Right: after injecting hot water, the noodles return to the state when they were just cooked. Source: Nippon com
In this way, after a year of research and development. In 1958, Ando Baifu launched the world’s first instant noodle “chicken juice Ramen”. This product was only sold for 35 yen (equivalent to about 2 yuan), which was equivalent to the price of ordinary Chinese Ramen shops. However, the “chicken juice Ramen” only needed to put the dough into the bowl and add hot water, which greatly catered to the needs of people at that time and immediately became a popular commodity at that time.
Chicken juice Ramen on sale, photo source: Riqing official website
Also in this year, Ando Baifu established Riqing food.
More convenient cup noodles
Riqing did not stop after launching chicken juice ramen.
In 1966, Ando Baifu, who visited Europe and America, found that the staff of the supermarket there put the noodles directly into a paper cup, brewed them with hot water, and then ate them with a fork. This scene touched Ando, so when he returned to Japan, he immediately began the research and development of cup instant noodles.
Ando Baifu during his investigation in Europe and America. Photo source: Riqing official website
The development of new products begins with the manufacture of containers. In order to find the ideal “large and small containers that can be held by one hand”, Ando made nearly 40 samples and studied them repeatedly. Finally, the cup type material, which is magnified by cups, is chosen to select light weight, high heat insulation and economical foam plastics. However, foam plastics were still a rare material in Japan at that time, and it was not easy to process them into thin and single handed sizes. Therefore, Ando introduced American technology and began to make containers by himself.
Although the problem of container has been solved, how to put the dough into the container has become a difficult problem. If a packet of chicken juice Ramen cake is put into a cup, it needs to be made into a 6cm thick block. If the existing method is used for frying, there will be a situation of external ripening and endogenous. When the internal is fried, the external will be charred. To solve this problem, Ando put the loose noodles into a conical trapezoidal iron mold, covered it and fried it. In this way, the noodles will be directly cup-shaped, and there will be no inconsistency between inside and outside. In addition, because the noodles are dense at the top and sparse at the bottom, when brewing, the injected boiled water can rush to the bottom of the cup, and the noodles become soft and recover from bottom to top. In addition, a lot of energy has been spent on the improvement of cup surface, cup cover, ingredients and so on.
In the cross section of the cup surface, the more the container is, the denser the noodle structure is. Source: Nippon com
In September 1971, this cup noodles product was officially launched at a price of 100 yen (about 6 yuan). In the era of bag noodles of 35 yen, such a price is too expensive, and many people think that eating noodles standing hinders customs, so it is difficult for cup noodles to be put on shelves in stores.
Ando Baifu for cup surface determination. Photo source: Riqing
So Ando decided to open up new sales channels and carry out unprecedented publicity and promotion. An automatic vending machine that can produce hot water has been launched, which has become a topic because it can pour hot water on the spot after buying “cup noodles”. 20000 vending machines have been set up nationwide in a year.
In addition, in Ginza, where young people gather, Riqing also carried out a “cup noodles” trial eating activity, attracting far more consumers than expected, and even sold out 20000 copies a day, which is very popular.
Scene of Riqing doing activities in Ginza. Photo source: Riqing
Cosmic Ramen rushing into space
As early as 2001, Riqing developed the world’s first space Ramen “space lamb”.
In 2005, this product went into space with Japanese astronaut Cong Noguchi carrying the space shuttle Discovery.
Riqing space food. Photo source: Riqing
Space lamb uses special space food processing technology to optimize the wheat flour and starch components in ramen. Even when the air pressure is low and hot water cannot be boiled in the international space station, it can easily boil the Ramen with 70 ℃ hot water. And considering that people will experience taste passivation in space, the ingredients of space Ramen are too thick.
In addition, in view of the weightlessness in space, the whole noodle is designed to be only one bite in size, and the noodle soup is thickened to increase the consistency and avoid the risk of flying around in space.
At present, Nissin food has launched seven flavors of space food, including chicken ramen, seafood, curry, U.F.O fried noodles, curry rice and beef rice, all of which have been certified by Japan Aerospace Research and Development Agency (JAXA).
60 years of continuous innovation,
Create a cup face universe that breaks through human imagination
In the kingdom of Riqing, in addition to the egg ramen, an elder in the instant noodle industry who has entered his 60s, the most well-known is the cup noodles cup noodles, which was introduced in 1971, that is, “Hewei”.
In 2021, this cup of instant noodles will usher in her 50th birthday and the brilliant achievement of global cumulative sales exceeding 50 billion. According to the Japanese honest officials, Hewei has launched more than 200 flavors, such as well-known seafood, curry, pig bone soup and so on.
cup noodles of various flavors, picture source: Riqing official website
In addition to the taste, Riqing has also successively launched qianyiding, La Wang series and cup-shaped container dongbingwei series.
Reviewing the history of Riqing, taste innovation is the key to its success. In the Japanese variety “the unknown world of pine nuts”, it is said that Riqing will develop 1500 new flavors of cup noodles every year, but only 3 will eventually become permanent flavors. Such a high elimination rate shows that Riqing is not only good at mining popular hot spots from public life and covering the personalized needs of all kinds of people, but also can accurately precipitate commonalities and cast them into classics.
Screenshot of the unknown world of Matsushita, source: Japanese story
Riqing’s product innovation is reflected in keeping up with the pace of the times and catering to the catering trend.
In the past, in the era of material shortage, instant noodles became the representative of fast food because of its low price, delicious and satisfying characteristics. However, with the further development of society and the popularization of the concept of healthy diet, residents’ health awareness is constantly improving. In response to this phenomenon, Riqing has also developed more convenient foods highlighting the concept of health.
1. Cup noodle salt off with 30% salt reduction
This product sold in 2019 reduces salt by 30% compared with ordinary cup noodles, while maintaining the delicacy of soy sauce soup bottom. Riqing collects about 170 kinds of table salt around the world. After repeatedly analyzing the taste and composition, it selects the most suitable material for salt reduction (magnesium chloride), which improves the noodle making, noodle texture, soup bottom and storage stability, so that it is still delicious even if the salt is reduced. Even those who care about health and salt can enjoy the familiar taste of cup noodles.
Photo source: Riqing
2. “Fully nutritious food” all in noodles series cup noodles
Photo source: Riqing official website
The all in noodles series launched in 2019 is known as “complete nutrition products”. With a special preparation method, noodles are added with more than a dozen nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein and dietary fiber, which can provide more than 1 / 3 of the nutrients needed by human beings every day. At the same time, its sugar content is only 60% of that of ordinary Chinese noodles. For the busy and healthy contemporary youth group, it can be said to be a new existence that brings reform to the instant noodle session.
3. High protein “cup noodles Pro”
Photo source: Riqing official website
Launched in 2021, this product focuses on high protein and low carbohydrate. The new “low-carbon water three-layer frying method” is used to halve the carbohydrate of the product, coupled with the enhanced version of the new “mystery meat” with the protein content increased to 1.8 times, which not only keeps the original flavor of instant noodles with high protein and low-carbon water. There are two flavors of ordinary (soy sauce) and seafood, 206 yen (about 12 yuan) before tax.
4. Energy replenishing ginger cup noodles
Photo source: Riqing official website
In 2017, Riqing launched the world’s first “Ginger miso cup noodles” with the theme of “energy”. Amino acids and vitamins B1 and B2 are added to the cup noodles, which are common ingredients in energy drinks, so that consumers can enjoy delicious food and bring energy supplement at the same time.
For different groups, Riqing has also customized products for them
5. Vegeta noodles for men with insufficient vegetable intake
Image source: Twitter@Twitter @cupnoodle_ jp
Vegeta’s name comes from English vegetable. This vegeta cup noodles focuses on “cabbage & Bacon”. There are also six kinds of vegetables in the cup noodles, which can supplement one-third of the amount of vegetables needed by the human body every day
6. “Instant noodles for the elderly”
Photo source: Riqing official website
The weight of this product is equivalent to that of ordinary instant noodles, which is reduced by about 30g. Moreover, considering the fact that there are many elderly people with adult children, single or two people, the overall size is not a 5-meal package for ordinary families, but a 3-meal package.
Creative perfection,
“Advertising company” Riqing will “Crazy” to the end
When it comes to Riqing, we always talk about his marketing.
There are countless articles summarizing the marketing routine of Riqing on the Internet. Foodaily agrees with one of them. No matter how novel and strange the marketing ideas of Riqing are, the reason why so many people always love this set is that Riqing captures the typical elements of Japanese traditional and popular culture and presents unforgettable audio-visual feelings with extreme details.
Matsuo Zhizhi of the advertising department of Riqing food once said: “many consumers will look forward to Riqing food and think that Riqing is a brand that will do interesting things.”
Through interesting advertisements, creative surroundings and a series of marketing activities, Riqing attracts more and more consumers, and also allows people to establish deeper emotional links to Riqing.
Advertising, keep pace with youth
One of the most famous marketing tactics of Riqing is its advertising. Its series of advertisements are not only interesting, but also achieve the effect of repeatedly brushing the screen; The most important thing is to create a brand of travel alienation and set memory anchor points. While expressing the unique personality of the brand, it also conveys its own brand memory symbols.
For example, hiyoko Chan, the mascot of Riqing chicken juice ramen, has always been a lovely, naive and clever chicken.
The mascot of chicken juice ramen. Image source: Twitter@nissin_hiyoko
In the advertising film of Akuma Kimura, a new type of chicken juice Ramen launched by Riqing for young people, the little yellow chicken incarnated as a mourning youth, which vividly demonstrated the collapse moment of contemporary social animals. When squeezing the subway, the person next to him slept on his shoulder, the cell phone lent to others was oily, and was stabbed in the forehead by someone else’s umbrella. He mistakenly thought that others were saying hello to him, the umbrella was taken away by others, and he could only get in the rain, Lying playing with the mobile phone, he was hit in the head and smashed the mobile phone screen by others After a lot of painful little yellow chicken, soak a bowl of devil spicy chicken juice ramen, enjoy the explosion of taste, and finally become Riqing devil spicy chicken ramen.
The little yellow chicken turns into a devil. Image source: Twitter@nissin_hiyoko
This advertisement not only established a strong emotional resonance between Riqing chicken juice ramen, who is already in his 60s, and young users, but also set up the image IP of little yellow chicken hiyoko Chan again. At the same time, the magical content is also impressive.
In addition to the brand mascot advertising, Riqing also likes to co sign with major animation IP, from the animation field “pirate king”, “attacking giant”, “silver soul”, “ghost blade” to the game field “Final Fantasy 15”, “FGO” and “eight minutes of love”… Riqing has launched advertising, which continues to keep pace with the interests of young users, making Riqing’s brand more and more “young”.
The joint packaging of Riqing and ghost killing blade. Photo source: Twitter @ kimetsu_ off
Linkage lottery between Riqing and FGO. Source: Sohu
Fun around the cup surface
In addition to advertising, Riqing’s peripheral products are always unexpected, turning into walking billboards.
1. Cup mop that becomes the focus of the court
Riqing cup face mop. Source: Twitter @ cupnoodle_ jp
This mop restores the classic shape of Riqing cup noodles. The mop rag is a roll of noodles, with attractive chicken nuggets and shrimp as decoration. In the middle time of the “winter cup 2021” game of the Japanese college basketball championship sponsored by Riqing last month, the staff used this mop for cleaning, which immediately attracted the attention of the whole audience.
2. Cup surface “humidifier”
Two color cup humidifier. Photo source: Japan Walker
Riqing cup surface is designed as a 1:1 humidifier, and the smoke outlet is at the place where the cup surface is covered. When there is not enough water in the humidifier, you only need to pick up the cover with the lift shape and pour the water in, just like adding water to the real cup surface.
3. Cup face handbag
5 Cup handbags in different sizes and colors. Source: Twitter @ cupnoodle_ jp
This model is designed around the most classic soy sauce cup surface in Riqing. The cover of the bag also adopts the latest cat ear cover. As soon as you open it, you can see the drooling cat staring at you. The interior design of the bag is also very clever. When you open it, you can see the patterns of “mystery meat”, shrimp and noodles, as if you were holding a bucket of real instant noodles. Moreover, as long as you circle the rope, you can take it out at any time, no matter where you go, you will attract your eyes.
4. Pretend to be eating instant noodles
Riqing’s instant noodles T-shirt. Source: store nissin. com
Riqing customized a variety of instant noodles eating arm patterns according to men and women and different arm sizes, trying to create a realistic illusion of eating instant noodles on T-shirt.
5. Cup headset
Cup shaped headphones. Source: store nissin. com
This headset, called hyperx cup mix-in, is equipped with a “revolutionary silencing fork microphone”, according to the official of the Japanese Qing Dynasty. The slogan is “the foam like ear cushion for noodles” and “the biggest headset cavity on the market”.
The more festive, the crazier
On anniversaries and special festivals, Riqing will launch limited edition packaging, limited taste or a series of peripheral products with big brain holes, refreshing people’s understanding of Riqing again and again.
1. Cat ear cup cover
Cat ear cup cover. Source: Twitter @ cupnoodle_ jp
In order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the cup surface, Riqing cancelled the “plastic sticker” attached to the bottom of the cup surface and upgraded the cover to a “W-shaped double ear cover”, which can reduce 33 tons of plastic waste per year. The new cover can also play the role of fastening the cover, and when it is opened, it is a drooling cat head, lovely and healing. In addition, Riqing even buried a “colored egg” in the cover of the new cup, which is 6% likely to open to the “Tibetan fox Cup”.  
6% possibility to open the hidden fox cup cover. Source: Twitter @ cupnoodle_ jp、sea_ kai06
2. Ukiyo painted Matcha seafood cup noodles
Photo source: Riqing official website
In 2016, in order to celebrate the 45th Birthday of cup noodles, Riqing specially launched cup noodles with Matcha seafood flavor. The packaging of the cup surface is filled with rich ukiyo drawings, and the famous Japanese scenic spot Mount Fuji is placed in the middle. The noodles are also made with Matcha for the first time, making it the first green noodles of the brand.
3. Cup flavored soda
Source: Twitter @ cupnoodle_ jp
In 2021, Riqing also found Jingwang Plaza Hotel, which also welcomed the 50th anniversary, to be the bartender. Based on the common soda mouth flavor, it prepared four delicious cup surface soda water, including classic cup surface flavor, curry cup surface flavor, seafood cup surface flavor and spicy tomato cup surface flavor.
Make the image of cup noodles everywhere
1. Through the instant noodle museum to publicize itself, cup noodles have become synonymous with Japan’s Qing Dynasty and even Japanese culture
Appearance of Yokohama instant noodles Museum, Japan. Source: Nippon com
Riqing has opened two instant noodle museums in Japan, located in Yokohama and Ikeda respectively. Instant noodles museum is also known as Ando Baifu invention Memorial Hall. In the museum, you can not only review the development of instant noodles, but also see hundreds of kinds of instant noodles. Visitors can make their own box of cup noodles. On site staff explained the production process of cup noodles. Riqing’s excellence in instant noodles production was spread to all directions through commentators and visitors.
The cup wall displayed in the instant noodles Museum. Source: Nippon com
The instant noodle Museum communicates and communicates with visitors by encouraging joint participation, so that visitors can more easily accept the concept of Riqing, and imperceptibly absorb and recognize the corporate values of Riqing while enjoying fun.
Nowadays, the instant noodle museum is not only the carrier of the corporate culture of the Japanese Qing Dynasty, but also a pronoun of Japanese culture.
2. Unique cup surface factory
The instant noodle cup cover incarnates the Riqing factory at the gate. Photo source: Riqing official website
In June 2019, Riqing built a cup noodle factory in Shiga County, Kansai, which can be called the “largest” marketing masterpiece of Riqing. The factory covers an area of about 100000 square meters and is one of the largest food factories in Japan. The factory gate is designed as a giant cup surface – the most classic packaging shape of Riqing, with red and white colors, which is interesting and eye-catching.
Behind the cup face gate is a long red corridor, which is still matched with red and white. Riqing’s new factory with the most advanced facilities and Internet of things technology has a panoramic view on 40 LCD screens, which makes visitors marvel.
There is a long red visiting corridor in Riqing cup noodle factory. Source: harpersbazaar
Why is instant noodles popular all over the world?
After conquering the Japanese market, the steps of Riqing did not stop. With the belief that “taste knows no borders”, the founder Ando Baifu has set his eyes on the overseas market and wants to promote instant noodles to the world.
Cup noodles of different countries and regions in the world. Photo source: Riqing official website
Riqing food officially entered the overseas market, which began in the United States in the 1970s.
In 1969, Ando Baifu cooperated with weizhisu, which has established sales channels in the United States. Riqing food is responsible for production and weizhisu is responsible for sales. In 1970, Nissin company was established in Los Angeles. Its main business is to develop the market and establish distribution channels by selling “chicken juice Ramen” and other products imported from Japan. At the same time, Riqing Food Research Institute has also started the development of local products in the United States.
In 1984, Riqing took a fancy to the Chinese market and established a company in Hong Kong, China. Since then, it has successively established bases in Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Germany and Thailand.
In the process of going around the world, through research, Riqing launched seafood cup noodles that are very popular in both inland and coastal countries all over the world, trying to create the iconic flavor of Riqing.
In addition, other products launched by Riqing are not the original export of Japanese flavor, but the addition of soup and ingredients loved by people all over the world.
Photo source: Riqing official website
In 2002, the con Camaron Picante sold by Riqing in Mexico used the aroma of coriander to decorate the delicious shrimp, and the spicy pepper is the unique place of this product. Side dishes include green peas and shrimp, which are popular in Mexico because of their moderate spicy degree.
Photo source: Riqing official website
The “mazedaar masala” sold in India in 2014 added masala, a common spice in Indian cuisine, to the cup noodles. The perfect combination of noodles and soup bottom and the rich and rich taste of soup make it highly praised in the local area. This Ramen is also the No. 1 hot commodity in the Indian cup noodle market.
Photo source: Riqing official website
“Champignons” cup noodles sold by Riqing in Germany are full of mushroom delicacy and aroma and characterized by luxurious western style thick soup style. This is a popular taste in Europe. It has received many praise from local consumers, such as “very delicious”, “although it is cream, it is not greasy, very good”.
Photo source: Riqing official website
This “galinha caipira” sold in Brazil stews chicken with vegetables such as garlic, celery and tomato to make soup, and adds several spicy seasonings to reproduce the flavor of galinha caipira, a family cuisine in Brazil. In 2016, when the improvement was launched, it was praised as “chicken tastes great” and “has a natural taste”. Now it is one of the most popular products in the Brazilian instant noodle market.
In current China, the tide of new consumption is surging, and the innovation speed of instant noodles is far faster than people’s imagination. Cup noodles (also including bagged ones), which used to bring people great convenience and novelty, are being replaced by Chinese (ramen, sliced noodles, Chongqing noodles, etc.), western (pasta) and other products in various forms and eating methods (self heating, hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot).
However, from a global perspective, instant noodles is still one of the most influential Oriental foods, known as the “most globalized” food.
The global annual consumption of instant noodles from Japan to the world has reached 100 billion copies. As a leading enterprise of instant noodles, the sales volume of instant noodles in Riqing accounts for 42% of that in Japan.
Ranking list of Japanese instant noodles market share (2020-2021). Photo source: gyokai search com
Keep pace with the times and people-oriented in product development; Advertising marketing is meticulous and insight into people’s hearts, which may be the secret of more than 60 years of popularity. I hope this persistence and confidence of Riqing in its own products can give some enlightenment to the domestic brands who dominate the new consumption track today.
reference material
[1] [Riqing food] world food, April 18, 2013
[2] Riqing food report November 20212021
[3] How good is instant noodles advertising? Just look at Riqing, January 2021
[4] Riqing, who sells instant noodles, did not hesitate to spend a lot of money to build a cultural museum, which was a great move, October 12, 2016
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