New processing and packaging technology has revitalised the rice sector in the past several years, driving strong growth and adding excitement and convenience.
Dry rice has always been difficult to prepare - even in boil-in-the-bag formats. Microwaveable pre-cooked rice answered this problem and has proved popular among younger consumers. They particularly rate consistency in quality and convenience. This is reflected in stronger ratings across the sector over the past five years. Microwaveable rice is even beginning to find acceptance among more affluent consumers who traditionally bought only dry rice.
It will be interesting to see if new technology will have the same effect in transforming the noodle sector. Most consumers associate quick-cook noodles with cheap prices and poor quality. The new pre-cooked noodles now emerging offer a superior and consistent quality, ideal for stir-fries and ethnic meals.
A below average score disguises strong appeal for teenagers and younger men. Sticky in texture, but the inclusion of Peperami proved key.
Light and well separated, this ready-to-use rice lacked only an appetising aroma, but proved pricey at £1.44. It appealed to younger consumers, who valued the convenience.
An attractive boil-in-the-bag blend, particularly popular in the north. Light and fluffy, to the standard expected of Uncle Ben’s.
Limited appeal for this Australian noodle snack, primarily among a core segment of teenagers and students. Sticky to eat, with a strange aftertaste.
Younger consumers choose microwaveable, pre-cooked rice for quality and convenience
Put to the test: four recent launches (maximum score 50)Peperami Noodles - Original Score: 28 Category average: 33
Amoy Straight to Wok Classic Cantonese Rice Score: 33 Category average: 33
Uncle Ben’s Basmati & Thai Rice Score: 37 Category average: 33
Top Box Hokkien Noodles with Honey Soy Sauce Score: 17 Category average: 28
Produced for The Grocer by Cambridge Fast Foodfax, an independent standardised new product testing service where a sample of 50 consumers rate new products across 10 key performance measures. Maximum score 50. Details on www.fast-foodfax.com