China is one of the largest producers of instant noodles in the world. People in China and Hong Kong consume billions of instant noodles annually. But that is slowly decreasing, and it’s a good economical sign for Beijing.
A report by the BBC stated that China and Hong Kong, which together consumed more than 46 billion packets of instant noodles in 2013, consumed 8 billion less instant noodle packets in 2016.
Economists are saying that the drop in the consumption of instant noodles points at the improving situation of the rural economy in China. People from rural areas working in the cities are the biggest consumers of instant noodles in China. Now that the rural condition is improving in China, fewer workers are migrating to the cities. Migrant workers who had to earlier work for years in a city are now opting to earn and then return to their villages. Those who are staying back have opted for increased opportunities instead.
The introduction of high-speed trains in China has also impacted the sales of instant noodles. Earlier, travellers used to consume instant noodles during long train rides to the rural areas. Since the distance has now been cut short drastically by high-speed trains, the need for instant noodles has decreased.
In the urban areas, though the packaged noodles are cheap, it is fast being replaced by on-demand food services. Similarly, in India, on-demand food services are increasingly being availed in urban areas, leading to a decrease in the demand for packaged food.
Big companies like Alibaba and JD.com are working to improve and raise the income of rural areas by directly linking them to buyers in the cities. Despite criticisms, the Chinese government is hopeful that they will be able to double all salaries of workers by 2020.