June 13, 2016

Meet The Manufacturer: Interview With Nissin Hong Kong

Interview With Nissin Hong Kong * Product Samples From Nissin Hong Kong * Special Items From Nissin Hong Kong * More Special Items From Nissin Hong KongNissin Demae Iccho Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu FlavourNissin Cup Noodles Big Spicy Seafood FlavourNissin Demae Iccho Curry Beef Flavour Instant NoodleNissin Nupasta Carbonara Flavour Instant NoodleFuku Non-Fried Superior Soup Noodle * Nissin Cup Mifun Spicy Beef FlavourNissin Cup Noodles Pork Chowder FlavourNissin Taisho Fried Noodle Sesame Paste Flavour Instant NoodleNissin Demae Ramen Straight Noodle Kyushu Tonkotsu Flavour Instant NoodleFuku Superior Soup Instant Rice VermicelliNissin Demae Ramen Sesame Oil Flavour Instant NoodleNissin Mie Goreng Indonesia Stir Noodle Original Flavour * Nissin Demae Iccho Beef Flavour Instant Noodle * Nissin Cup Noodles Big Seafood Curry FlavourNissin Nupasta Salmon In White Sauce Flavor Instant Noodle

Recently, I have been doing a lot of reviews of products from Hong Kong and asked Daisuke-san from Nissin Japan if he had a contact at Nissin Hong Kong in order to pursue a Meet The Manufacturer series. He was very helpful and here we go with a new Meet The Manufacturer! I conducted this interview with Takeshi Kikunaga, Director & General Manager of Nissin Hong Kong. Hope you enjoy the interview and the reviews!

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Nissin Hong Kong?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Nissin Foods Group was established in 1958. It started to export instant noodles product to Hong Kong in 1968 and set up Hong Kong Nissin in 1984. In 1985, we opened a new plant in Taipo and is Nissin’s fifth overseas plant after the plants in the US and Brazil.
We start selling our hero brands – Demae Iccho and Cup Noodles from that time onward; and acquired two local instant noodles brands – Doll & Fuku in 1989 and 2013 respectively. With over 40 years of history, we are the market leader in instant noodles market that occupied around 60% of market share in pack type noodles and over 80% in container type noodles market.

TRR> For my readers who might now be familiar with your product lines, can you give a little information about them please?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Under Nissin umbrella, there are 3 hero brands – Demae Iccho, Cup Noodles & Fuku together with other brands in different varieties of noodles including pasta, rice noodles & vermicelli, etc.
For Demae Iccho, there are over 40 SKUs in pack, cup & bowl. Flavours are mainly categorized as Classic, Tonkotsu & Spicy series.
For Cup Noodles series, there are 25 SKUs in 3 pack size – mini, regular & big. It is famous as Seafood Specialist.
For Fuku, apart from the Emen & Mifun that are very popular in consumers’ mind, we launched Fuku non-fried noodles last year which is also widely accepted in the market.
For details, you can refer to the attached excel file.

TRR> What was the first product you produced?

NISSIN HONG KONG> The first product we produced is Demae Iccho pack noodles – Sesame Oil Flavour. It is the most popular item since it launched in Hong Kong.

TRR> Your company is located in Hong Kong. Can you tell us a little about your country?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Hong Kong is a city famous for “food, shopping & convenience”. In Hong Kong, you can enjoy foods from different countries and it is very convenient to go everywhere for shopping and sightseeing. Consumers in Hong Kong enjoy trying new product and we can see the availability of food/product in Hong Kong soon after it is getting popular in other countries. As a manufacturer, we keep observing the trend and would like to keep our consumers excited as well.

TRR> Do people eat your noodles dry as well as cooked?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Different consumers may have their own way of eating. But for Fuku, it is popular for its different ways of preparation, especially being treated as snack.
1. Steeping – steep in boiling water for 3 minutes.
2. Cooking – add noodles into boiling water & cook for 3 minutes.
3. Snack – it is a ready-to-eat crispy noodle snack for all the time.

TRR> Do you have any new varieties you’re especially proud of?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Nissin Foods has never stopped on making innovation to fulfill consumers’ increasing demand. We keep improving our existing products and launching new products to bring excitement to consumers.
One of the product-launch which is still the talk of the town is Cup Noodles South East Asian series; it is consist of Tom Yum Goong, Chilli Crab & Black Pepper Crab Flavour. It achieved number one sales volume among Cup Noodles series after the launch.

TRR> How do you decide what kinds of new products to manufacture?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Quality & customer satisfactions have always been our prime concern. To cope with the increasing demand of consumers, we have never stopped on improving the quality of our products. By observing the market trend & to react to consumer’s feedback, we review our current products as well as launching new products to fulfill consumer’s increasing demand.
Take Demae Iccho Pack Noodles as an example; because of the trend of tonkotsu ramen and spicy noodles, we launched Tonkotsu Series in 2012 & Spicy Series in 2013. We also keep improving the quality of Demae Iccho Cup Noodles by enhancing the quality of noodles, soup & condiment.
We are very confident that the revamp and the launch of products will continue our success because we devoted time, technology and most importantly enthusiasm to every development process.

TRR> A lot of people are concerned with their sodium intake. How would you recommend people enjoy your product as part of a healthy meal?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Consumers are now becoming more health conscious and Government is also promoting diet in low sugar and salt; some consumers may perceive instant noodles as unhealthy food.
We do promote balance diet, ie. The balance intake of protein, fat & carbohydrate. While eating instant noodles, it is encouraged to consume food with other nutrient so as to enjoy a balance diet.
We are also taking challenge to improve our products further – reduce the calorie and sodium level. We believe our products can meet consumer’s expectation.

TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Corporate social responsibility (CSR) shapes our activities and operations.
We arranged food education events including Demae Kitchen and My Cup Noodles Factory to teach kids and the public about balance eating habit.
As sports are very crucial as a part of life, we have sponsorship to Hong Kong Tennis Association to encourage kids to play more sports.
Our recruitment policy also reflects CSR. We cooperated with university to hire their graduates every year. They usually work at the marketing department to assist in developing new products.

TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?

NISSIN HONG KONG> New product is very important to a brand because it brings excitement to consumers and can refresh the brand image in consumer’s mind. Our marketing and R&D team pay much effort on this and we believe that our coming new products will be a surprise to consumers.

TRR> In what countries are your products popular? Do people enjoy them differently in different places?

NISSIN HONG KONG> We expanded to an international level from Japan to Middle East, Europe, America and our products are seen everywhere. In Hong Kong, we are the market leader and are now expanding our business to China market. Our products are widely accepted by consumers in China especially in Guangdong Province that double-digit growth in sales quantity can be observed.
While we suggested using boiling water to prepare Cup Noodles, consumers in China used to use hot water from dispenser machine and the noodles texture will be affected. We therefore pay more effort to deliver the correct way of preparation.
In China, another usage occasion of cup noodles can be found. In some provinces, people use it as offering to worship their ancestor.

TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?

NISSIN HONG KONG> Personally, I sometimes add egg or cheese while preparing instant noodles. Instant noodles with topping are also a popular dish served in Tea Meal House and Fast Food Restaurant in Hong Kong. Popular menu includes Demae Noodles with satay beef, egg and sausage. Few years ago, we developed Cup Noodles Milk Seafood Flavour in react to the rumor of adding hot milk to Cup Noodles Seafood Flavour. It is so delicious and warm that is especially suitable for consumption in winter.

TRR> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Nissin Hong Kong and your products!

With that, I’d like to thank Takeshi Kikunaga for agreeing to the interview, Kamy Fung for facilitating samples and great communication/information and finally Daisuke Okabayashi for connecting me withe these great folks at Nissin Hong Kong.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.

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