Japan's leading instant noodle producer, Nissin Foods Holdings Co. has entered the Myanmar market, seeking to cash in on the robust growth in consumption in this rapidly developing country.
Nissin has formed a local manufacturing joint venture (JV) called Sar Taw Kal Nissin Co., with Lluvia Ltd., Myanmar's leading flour milling firm. The JV has recently released 2 type of packaged noodles with local chicken flavor under the Wah-Lah brand. ‘Wah-Lah’ means "Have you eaten?" in the local language.
The JV, established in May 2017, will soon add 2 more flavors namely chilly Korean kimuchi and spicy sesame. The 4 flavors/variants will be priced at Kyat 200 to 300 (US$0.13-US$0.20) per package. It plans to increase its variety of flavors/variants to about 10 in the near future, said its General Manager Hiroyuki Arai.
Myanmar's instant noodle market reached 590 million packages last year, up 1.7 fold from 2013 and ranking 17th in the world. This is however only ¼ of Japan’s per capita consumption, according to the World Instant Noodles Association.
Myanmar instant noodle market is currently dominated by local brands and those from neighboring Thailand. Arai said its company is planning to sell 100 million packages annually by 2020. Arai commented that Myanmar has huge potential as “it already has traditional noodle menus like 'mohingar' (rice noodle with fish soup) and coconut noodle.”
The joint venture, in which Lluvia has a majority stake, uses the latter’s nationwide distribution network. Apart from Nissin, other Japanese players like Acecook Co. had also started local production in July last year at a plant in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Yangon.
Nissin has already built strong presence in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Myanmar is its latest market.