The history and unknown story of Maruchan

maruchan usa chinese noodles fish meat

Do you know the reason why fish compnay developed instant noodles?

  • Toyo Suisan mainly exported frozen tuna at first.
  • The first instant noodles "Maruto instant noodles" was not hit.
  • Maruchan assumed over 80% share of instant noodles in Mexico.

Maruchan is one of the instant noodles brand of Toyo Suisan which is a Japanese food company. Toyo Suisan was a fish processing company, Toyo means "Eastern" or "Orient", Suisan means "marine product" or "fisheries" in Japan. Why it began to make instant noodles?

Toyo Suisan mainly exported frozen tuna at first. It expanded its business into making fish meat sausage and ham after that until 1962. This business had a high profit ratio, but it was not busy in winter. On the other hand, instant noodles were busy in winter. Toyo Suisan decided to make instant noodles because it wanted to run its factories in winter.

fish meat sausage

The first instant noodles "Maruto instant noodles" was not hit in 1961. Toyo Suisan improved its flavors, and change its name "Maruchan Ramen". Japanese use honorifics "-chan" to refer to others when they are close with. Toyo Suisan change its name to be close with consumers. Maruchan Ramen was a big hit in 1962 though it had some problems at first.

Toyo Suisan expanded its business to the U.S with Maruchan Ramen, and founded Maruchan Inc. in 1972. This company was in the red for years because of loose management. It was on the confines of bankruptcy though board members of it was reshuffled. Maruchan Inc. tried to sell itself to Campbell Soup Co. in USA, but it was refused.

maruchan usa products

Maruchan Inc tried to restore its business by itself. It reviewed and reduced unnecessary cost, and tried to develop sales channels. Especially, it extends its business to the west and south of U.S.A because other companies did not extend. It succeeded to sell Maruchan Ramen to Walmart and Costco in this area, and it swung back into the black in 1982. In addition, it became popular through doing official supplier of 1984 Summer Olympic in Los Angeles. It cleaned accumulative deficit in 1986.

In the same year, Maruchan Inc. expanded its business to the Mexico. It competed other companies' instant noodles, but it assumed over 80% share of instant noodles there now. Because other foreign companies withdrew from their business there in the Mexican peso crisis of 1994. Maruchan Inc. kept business there during this crisis, it got big share of instant noodles there.

By the way, United Airlines serves Kitsune Ramen (Chinese Noodles) made by Toyo Suisan as in-flight meal. Its soup and ingredients are similar to Akai Kitsune made by Toyo Suisan. Akai Kitsune which means red fox is sold only in Japan. You should buy it when you travel Japan if you like it.

kitsune ramen in united airlines

If you cannot come Japan or you like Maruchan or Toyo Suisan, you might invest Toyo Suisan Co. It is listed in Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO:2875), and is included some ETFs for investing Japanese companies.