Ramen Prices Still Rising

An odd news source for Ramen news, but TradingMarkets.com has some bad news from Nissin Foods, makers of Top Ramen.

NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS CO. (TSE:2897) will likely lift the prices of its ramen noodles and other products again if the government increases the wholesale prices of imported wheat as expected this fall, President Koki Ando said Friday. Nissin Food “will have no choice but to pass on (higher costs) by raising product prices,” Ando told reporters.

The full story is here, but there isn’t much more to it. Stock up now!

NPR Story on 50th Anniversary of Ramen and a Forthcoming Book on Ramen

NPR’s All Things Considered did a segment this morning written by Andy Raskin on the 50th anniversary of ramen and has some interesting commentary on Momofuku Ando’s funeral and impact on people. Mr. Raskin has a new book coming out soon called, “The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life”, sounds interesting to me! The link also has an audio version, but I can’t seem to directly link to it.

LINK

PS – Andy, send me a copy!

Scooped by Fark

I’ve been scooped by Fark.com, which fortunately is one my favorite sites, especially when I’m “working”. The story is about how we have entered a “ramen renaissance” and how ramen is becoming popular like sushi. It also mentions some astounding statistics, in 2007, Americans bought 738,000,000 pounds (334,751,169 kgs) instant ramen, or 4 billion packets! Since Google says that in 2007, the US had 301,139,947 people, that means every person in the US ate about 13 packs a year. I know I did better than that!

Full Story

Japan Searches for New Wheat Varieties To Help Ramen Prices

Bloomberg reports that scientists in Japan are searching for new wheat varieties in order to reduce the need to import wheat, which has been keeping ramen prices too high.

Hakata ramen, a specialty of Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, is popular for its firm, chewy noodles made with high- protein wheat flour milled from grain grown in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Higher global prices have hit noodle sellers hard.

The solution may be just down the road, where scientists are testing new varieties of wheat in an effort to satisfy local tastes and reduce imports. The project is just one of the ways Japan is trying to lessen its reliance on overseas suppliers as commodity prices hover near record highs.

We’ve discussed commodity prices here before and we probably will again. While supplying more local wheat may not put a dent in the international commodity price for wheat, they will certainly save on the shipping costs, since, as the crow flies, it is 6184.65 (9952.95 km) miles from Wichita to Tokyo.

This Blog is Now an Economic Indicator

I use a Google News alert to keep me abreast of what’s going on in the world of ramen, and there are always stories about college kids eating ramen, but in the past couple months, I’ve seen a new trend: ramen as an economic indicator. This story from the AP is mainly about people buying more Spam, but also has a bit about people eating ramen more often. The bad thing is that with the rise in grain prices over the past year, ramen is now more expensive, as we’ve detailed here before. The USDA data shows that in June-August 2003, the wholesale cost of wheat to make flour was $8.68/cwt (cwt=100 lbs or about 45 kg). By Dec 2007-Feb 2008, it was $27.70/cwt, and you can expect your ramen prices to rise along with that. Unfortunately the CBOT doesn’t track ramen prices. All these stories made me wonder if the traffic to my site correlates with the economy.

Is anyone out there (not in college or jail) buying more ramen these days? Have you seen a large price increase in your ramen?

PS – Sorry for this post looking like a memepool entry.

Momofuku Ando Statue Unveiled

Tons of ramen news today. Ando’s wife and the former PM of Japan (see previous story) were on-hand for the unveiling. It’s amazing that this “small invention” has grown to almost 92 billion servings served last year. I doubt anything any of us will do will ever reach those proportions!

FULL STORY

Former PM of Japan Junichiro Koizumi Talks at World Ramen Summit

I didn’t even know that there was a World Ramen Summit until today, you’d think they could comp me some passes or something! 😉 The article even has a picture of the PM, but it looks like he’s looting a tomb in the picture, I don’t know where they found it.

Excerpt:

TOKYO (Reuters) – Junichiro Koizumi never hosted a G8 summit while in office, but this week the popular former Japanese prime minister popped up at a “World Ramen Summit”, where he touted the tasty noodles as a universal treat.

“Ramen is not just for Japan, but it is also for the world and the universe,” Koizumi, whose colorful ways made him one of Japan’s most popular leaders ever, told business people from about 20 countries in Osaka, western Japan, on Wednesday.

FULL STORY

PS – I found this site, which has a link to summits dating from 1997 to 2006, but I haven’t found much on the 2008 event. Can someone get me a link?

Baseball Team Holding “Salute to Ramen Noodles Night”

The Salem Avalance (in Salem, Virginia), an Advanced Class-A baseball team will be holding a “Salute to Ramen Noodles Night” on April 18th at their home game against Lynchburg. The first 1000 fans get a free packet of ramen and you can also get $1 off your ticket if you bring ramen to donate to the local food bank. I think they should add a ramen eating contest, even with dry noodles it would be fun to watch. When I was about 10, I entered a hot-dog eating contest at a Charleston Wheelers game. I haven’t been able to eat a hot-dog since and its been 20 years.

Full Press Release

Ramen Theft Ring

Okay, so they didn’t just steal ramen, but the article specifically calls it out. So remember kids, don’t buy your ramen out of the back of a van…

Three Daly City men accused of stealing nearly $1.8 million worth of ramen noodles, rubber tires, barbecue grills and other consumer goods are facing criminal charges in at least three counties, the California Highway Patrol reported

Here’s my favorite part of the article:

Officers noticed a 53-foot trailer loaded with ramen noodles of suspicious provenance.

LINK to Story

I hope that someone submits a recipe called “Ramen Noodles of Suspicious Provenance”. I also figure that they sold the ramen from the 53′ trailer for about $20…