Top Ramen is one of the oldest brands of noodles manufactured by Nissin. A Japanese company Nissin was one of the earliest to market instant noodles to the world. The company currently under the brand name Top Ramen sells instant noodles, cup noodles, and noodle soups.
Some of the top variants of the noodle brand include Chow Mein, Hot & Spicy, Ramen Bowl, Souper Meal, Nissin Raoh etc. The concept of instant noodles with a separate packet of seasoning was popularised by Nissin through Top Ramen. However lately the popularity of the brand has waned and the company is making all possible attempts to regain the lost glory through a strong rebranding attempt.
Strengths in the SWOT analysis of Top Ramen
The following are the strengths of Top Ramen:
- Taste and Texture: Each brand of noodle is differentiated from others through their taste and texture and Top Ramen is known for its thin size with a hard texture that makes it the classic Hakata Ramen noodle.
- Convenience: The success of most instant noodle brands is because of the convenience factor associated with their making. All one needs to make instant noodles is a cup of warm water and a stove and it gets ready in less than five minutes. This makes it a convenient option for an instant ready to eat the snack.
- Multiple options: Top Ramen Noodles are usually used by Japanese in soups. However today there are numerous options to use Top Ramen and they range from chowmein to instant noodles to cup of noodles to noodle-based soups giving the customer a lot of choices in instant snacking.
- Local Flavors: Top Ramen has tried to understand the local flavors of each market it operates in and tried to develop tastemakers that suit the local customer choices. In India, for example, it has been launched in a number of local flavors like Masala, Curry and a healthy atta noodles as well.
- Negative Image of Maggi: In India, the market leader in the instant noodles category has always been Maggi by Nestle. However, in the past few years, there have been serious allegations of cancer-causing components in Maggi following which the Noodle brand had to be pulled out of the market.This benefitted Top Ramen Noodles which is the number three in the Indian market to increase its customer base.
- Low cost of manufacturing: There is nothing complicated in the manufacturing of instant noodles since the core product is just the same kind of noodles. What makes each variant different is the tastemaker which is given along with the noodle packet. Thus the cost of manufacturing is low for instant noodles as well as the process is simple to execute and manage.
Weaknesses in the SWOT analysis of Top Ramen
Some of the key weaknesses ofTop Ramenare :
- Cheap: Top Ramen Noodles are priced at a very cheap rate and customers often associate the low prices to poor or low quality. This makes the customers consider other options since the ingredients in the noodle is also assumed to be of questionable quality.
- Low penetration: Nestle and ITC which are the top players in the noodle segment in India have better penetration and wider distribution channels in India reaching out to even rural areas. In comparison to these brands, Top Ramen is available only in select retail outlets.
- Poor promotions: In comparison to competitors, the advertisements of To Ramen are not that popular and they have not been able to get high brand equity or recall in India.
- Poor perception of noodles: There have been numerous allegation leveled against instant noodles brands regarding the ingredients in the tastemaker packets which come along with the noodle. The presence of monosodium glutamate in the tastemakers resulted in many brands being recalled from the market. This has reduced the per capita consumption of noodles.
- High in Saturated Fats: Top Ramen is found to be rich in saturated fats. Out of 8 grams of fat, almost 50 % is saturated fats which are considered to be highly unhealthy. This is high in comparison to other brands of instant noodles and customers are apprehensive of purchasing Top Ramen due to this reason.
Opportunities in the SWOT analysis of Top Ramen
Some of the opportunities include :
- Lack of time: The increase in the number of working professionals and duration of working hours, increased affinity for snacking in between meals, reduced interest in spending time in the kitchen more number of singles preferring to cook their own meals etc have all increased the demand for instant and pre-processed food.
Threats in the SWOT analysis of Top Ramen
Some of the threats include:
- Competition: Some of the major competitors of Top Ramen are Maggi, Yippee and Chings Secret.