“Spicy food and spicy ramen continues to be a huge trend with consumers. And so, what we wanted to do here was [bring] a very authentic item that was very, very spicy, but we found a way to deliver spice in a very unique way using a technology that our R&D team developed.”
Unlocking new product innovation with consumer insight, technology
Inspired by and named after geki, which means extreme in Japanese, the product taps into the consumer demand for spicier and bolder flavors, Stanton explained. Geki Fiery Hot Chicken will be the first SKU available within the new line and can be purchased at Sam’s Club and online through Sam’s and Amazon websites, before launching nationwide, Stanton said.
Nissin claims to be the first to infuse noodles with heat thanks to its R&D expertise and a dedicated noodle expert who was tasked with creating a bold, spicy product that delivers heat in a unique format.
“The R&D team found a way to actually infuse the noodles with spice and with a chili flake, so actually what happened is it now you could see it, and then you can taste it, and so it delivers that heat in a very balanced way in every single bite, and it gives the noodles a really nice red hue."
Another trend that has become increasingly common is using condiments and sauces to add an extra level of spice, Stanton said. And while other ramen products provide hot sauce packets or the broth is spicy, the Geki line can provide a level of consistent spicy flavors without the need to add anything else, she said.
“When we showed the products to consumers, and they saw the chili flakes on the noodle, and the color, beautiful color of the noodles, they were sold, and of course, taste delivers on all of that. But it's really exciting to be able to bring in the consumer insight and then having the technology there to really stretch ourselves to be able to create something unique.”
Consumers are shopping the multi-cultural aisle
Consumers increasingly can shop for instant noodles, ramens, and Nissin offerings throughout the grocery store, including the soup aisle and the multicultural aisle, Stanton said.
"Consumers want to be able to shop for their products, wherever they believe it belongs or wherever they think that they're going to get the authentic products or the products that they were looking for. So, our consumers shop both aisles and so we want to make sure that we have offerings for consumers, however it is that they shop, and however they think about ramen. They have two places to go hunt for amazing products and amazing products from Nissen."
As Nissin Foods expands its presence in the soup and multi-cultural aisle and delivers more innovation, the brand is also looking to honor the innovative spirit of its founder as it grows its brand in the future, Stanton said.
"Our founding father ..., Momofuku Ando, was just this innovator of instant ramen, and I think that that does play back into how we see the world for ramen is using those value that he instilled in the company to really create new things, and so it's in our DNA, innovation will always be important, and so we will continue to bring new products to the market."