The noodles market in Nigeria has continued to grow in leaps and bounds amidst fierce competition among players for supremacy in the market place. As at today, there are 16 noodles brands in the market competing for attention of consumers and striving for growing market share.
However, until the launch of Indomie almost 30 years ago, the noodles market in Nigeria was almost non-existent. It was perceived as an Asian diet served only at Chinese restaurants. But since 1988 when De United Foods Industries Limited (now Dufil Prima foods) first marketed its Indomie Noodles, imported from Indonesia, in Nigeria, Noodles has become a major menu for millions of Nigerians and a brand in most homes.
By 2006, there were four noodles brands in Nigeria, but that figure rose sharply to 16 at the end of 2016. Some of these 16 brands are popular nationally while others are not. While some popular brands such as Indomie, Chikki, Mimee, Honeywell (formerly O! Noodles), Golden Penny, and Dangote are leaders in the high-growth market; some are dominant in the low-growth market. Some unpopular brands include: Sun yum, Tummy Tummy, Uno, Cherie, Star, Mc Chew, Niccus, Smoodles, and Chefmie.
But despite the increasing competition, Indomie still holds tenaciously to the leadership position in the market, having successfully shrug off challenges from its competitors with a combination of product quality, relentless consumer engagement and aggressive advertising.
Because of these attributes, Indomie has become the generic name for noodles in the country, occupying a prime position in the hearts and minds of many loyal consumers. Indomie enjoys high level of awareness among all market demography and while it is primary targeted at children, the brand has been able to transcend all age groups.
The noodles trade in Nigeria is indeed huge. As at 20011, it was estimated to be the 12th biggest noodles market in the world with an annual demand said to be over 1.79billion packs, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA). However, Indomie controls the lion share, with an estimated 1million Indomie Noodles packs sold per day. That is about 70 percent of the market.
Indomie’s dominance has been validated by a market report conducted by MarkMonitor Nigeria Limited, a research and market intelligence provider. In the customer satisfaction survey which was done across 12 states, a few years ago on six popular noodle brands, namely: Chikki, Dangote, Golden Penny, Honeywell, Indomie, and Mimee, Indomie emerged overall best, claiming five out of six categories with wide margin.
Honeywell Noodles on the other hand has not done badly. The noodles brand have consistently positioned itself an alternative to Indomie. It may not have the marketing wall chest of Indomie, but the brand have been able to create advertising campaign that are memorable and resonates in the minds of consumers.
The brand which was formerly known as O Noodles has over the years fine-tuned it’s offering and communications in order to engender brand loyalty. For example it has improved on its taste, packaging market spread and patronage. In the Customer Satisfaction survey conducted by FinIntell, Honeywell Noodles emerging second to Indomie in virtually all the indices, beating other leading brands.
For example: For The Most Delicious Noodle: Indomie (52.30%), Honeywell (14.80%); Best In Ad Innovation: Indomie (49.59%), Honeywell (19.30%); The Best Packaged Noodle: Indomie (58.10%), Honeywell (10.40%); High Quantity Noodle: Indomie (57.30%), Honeywell (4.45%).
But it is instructive to also note that consumers are not totally satisfied with what they get. According to the survey, many of them want more value for money, not just in terms of quality, but also with regards to quantity. These essentially leaves the door open for any aspiring brand to make impact in the market.