(March 5, 1910 – January 5, 2007)
Momofuku Ando was the inventor of the instant noodle – the pack AND the bowl version! I interviewed a Senior Marketing Manager at Nissin Foods, USA and one of the questions I asked was about the beginnings of the company and it’s founder:
TRR: Can you give a little background on how the company was founded and a little about its history in Japan?
NISSIN: Mr. Ando began the company as part of a humble family operation back in 1948. Faced with sparse food sources after World War II, Mr. Ando realized that a quality, convenient ramen product would help to feed the masses. His goal was to create a satisfying ramen that could be eaten anywhere, anytime. In 1958, Nissin introduced “Chicken Ramen”, the first instant ramen. Ironically, it was considered a luxury item, since Japanese grocery stores sold fresh Japanese noodles (udon) at one-sixth the cost of Mr. Ando’s new food concept.
Still, Mr. Ando was convinced that his revolutionary new method of preparation would sell. The concept seemed simple enough. All users would have to do is simply remove the ramen from its package, place it in a bowl, add boiling water, cover the bowl, and wait three minutes. The conservative Japanese food industry, however, rejected the product as a novelty with no future. They had never been so wrong.
Soon, Chicken Ramen was selling beyond even Mr. Ando’s wildest expectations. Before you could say “instant”, more than ten companies were rushing to put their own versions out on the market. By the end of 1958, grocery shelves were crowded with this new staple for the Japanese kitchen. From this point on, Nissin Foods began introduction of a long list of successful and innovative ramen products.
I would like to direct anyone who would be so interested to the Momofuku Ando Day link here. I’m trying to get people to celebrate every year on January 19th!
Here are some links that will give you a bit more information about him:
If you have any suggestions for other links, please drop a line! Thanks!