New York (CNN) The high price of eggs and other breakfast foods is forcing some to look for cheaper breakfast alternatives. What about windows?
Cup Noodles, the budget-friendly food company, has created a breakfast version of their instant ramen, which mixes the flavors of sausage, maple syrup pancakes, and eggs in a spicy texture designed to come to life with water.
Aptly titled “Cup Noodles Breakfast,” the meal takes four minutes to cook in the microwave and results in a soup-based ramen that also includes “visible ingredients” of sausage and eggs. Eaters are encouraged by the company to customize it with hot sauce, more syrup, or even rice.
Priscila Stanton, senior vice president and marketing for Nissin Foods USA, likened it to a “classic diner breakfast in a cup,” without the hassle of making a full meal with all those ingredients.
“This idea was about how to put all those great breakfast cravings in a cup,” she told CNN. The company’s research found that eggs, sausages and pancakes were the top choices for creating the best breakfast combo.
Nissin starting breakfast isn’t a “major step” for the company, said Neil Saunders, an analyst at GlobalData Retail.
“The wacky mix of ingredients is from the Cup Noodle brand, which often combines traditional noodles with local flavors that it believes will appeal to consumers,” he told CNN. Also, American eaters may be “turned off” from traditional ramen flavors, but “will be more interested in sweet flavors they associate with traditional breakfasts.”
“Cup Noodles Breakfast” will be on sale starting Wednesday for $1.18 at select Walmart stores and on the retailer’s website.
Battle for breakfast
Nissin entered the breakfast battle because it saw its affordability and convenience as an advantage, especially as inflation takes its toll on food prices.
After all, egg prices in February are 55% higher than last year, despite price drops in recent months. And other brands known for breakfast, such as cereal Kellogg (K) and Post Brands, raised prices last year.
“Breakfast has been this talking point about how to really leverage this moment in the consumer’s day-to-day life,” Stanton said.
“It’s no longer a time of day when consumers sit down and have a full meal — that’s long gone. There are fast-service restaurants, but consumers are looking for more stuff from the supermarket and have it readily available,” she said . .
People between the ages of 18 and 34 are “significantly more likely than their older counterparts” to choose a more convenient breakfast, such as cereal or fast food, because it’s easier to eat during their morning rush, according to Paige Leyden, deputy director of Mintel . food service, flavors and ingredients.
Covid-19 caused a “surge in the number of people having a more formal ‘sit-down’ breakfast at home,” Saunders added. However, that has since faded as people returned to the office or even worked from home, where they “dated at their desks at home to start the day,” he said.
Stanton added that the product’s $1.18 price makes it a “trifecta” of consumer wants: a flavorful product, convenience and value. “There aren’t that many options that offer all three elements, so we’re comparing ourselves to what other meals consumers actually have access to and we’re such a bargain,” she said.
On the other hand, consumers can be turned off by floating bits of sausage in their windows.
Breakfast ramen is Cup Noodles’ second limited-time offering, following the sale of Pumpkin Spice ramen last fall. Stanton said flavor sold “really well” for the 65-year-old company, demonstrating that there is “a lot of openness among our consumers” about crazy flavors.
“Part of the fun is having people have that conversation about whether something is going to be great or not,” she said. “The challenge for our consumers is to make decisions and try to let us know what they think.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the price for Cup Noodles Breakfast. It costs $1.18.
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