INDOMIE Instant Noodles: Feeding Families Since 1988
By Abutu Agada
The Tolaram group started importation of Indomie instant noodles into the Nigerian market in 1988 and in 1996 began manufacturing in Ota as De-united foods (A joint venture between Salim group, Indonesia). Within its first 15 years, INDOMIE made a remarkable impact on the country’s culinary landscape and has continued to grow, been adopted by consumers as the generic name for instant noodles. Today, with the largest instant noodle manufacturing plant in Africa, the INDOMIE brand is synonymous with quality, taste, value and has become the bench mark for food manufacturing in Nigeria.
The INDOMIE product range also commands a substantial degree of brand loyalty and an enviable top-of-mind status amongst its consumers, who cut across all demographic segments of the society.
Until 2006, INDOMIE commanded 100 percent market share. Currently, there are 16 producers of instant noodles contending with INDOMIE for market domination, with more expected to commission production in Nigeria. Yet, this has not stopped the brand from dominating the market and delivering an annual double digit growth YOY.
Notwithstanding the stiff and growing competition for market share, the INDOMIE brand has continued to leverage on its strong brand equity to maintain its competitive advantage and sustain the growth and profitability of its business activities.
INDOMIE’s unique aromatic flavours, affordability and availability render it simply irresistible to its numerous consumers.
The acceptance of INDOMIE as a brand by Nigerians of all ages goes beyond its unique taste and its marketing drive. Indeed, it is a brand that understands the preferences of the Nigerian consumer, irrespective of his psychographics or demographics.
Amber Kumar Yadaf, Brand Manager for INDOMIE, captures this more succinctly: “For over 25 years, INDOMIE has been widely accepted by people across all age groups in Nigeria. Almost everyone in Nigeria has consumed INDOMIE instant noodles at one time or the other. The acceptance of instant noodles has grown from what it used to be in yesteryears. People have come to accept it as a staple and as a food that they will like to have as many times as they can.
“It is one of the most economically available meals anybody could have in Nigeria today. One pack of INDOMIE will cost you between sixty to seventy naira and you can cook it without any additives and still enjoy your meal.”
The INDOMIE brand employs a very competitive quality control team that ensures the quality of the product before leaving the factory premises. On account of the high quality of its brand, among other things, the INDOMIE brand has left a trail of awards in its wake over the years. The most recent of these awards is the brand’s spectacular showing at this year’s Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) awards where it won in the highest award category of the event, emerging as Brand of the Year in 2016.
No doubt, awards are recognitions and are pats on the back for brands and organizations to do more and achieve better results. This holds true for the brand’s Product Manager, Onome Asagbra, who said: “It’s a big endorsement of all the activities we do year round. Indomie has covered a large ground with penetration across the country. This award will make our consumers know that we are always on top of our game to give them the best. The ADVAN award is important to us. It is a pat on the back for a job well done.”
Amber shares similar sentiments with Onome. He says, “Looking at it from the brand’s perspective, we all know that the consumers really love the brand and that is why we stand at where we are as at today. But when it comes from the agreement of professional bodies and they acknowledge that the brand is doing something really good, it means a lot to us. The ADVAN award shows that we are doing the right things and we are doing them correctly. We really appreciate the award.”
In March 2008, NAFDAC honoured Dufil Prima with an award of excellence for being one of the most regulatory-compliant organisations in Nigeria. INDOMIE won the Most Trusted Brand in Nigeria in 2012 by Brand Health Organisation, was named number one Noodles brand in Nigeria by Commerce & Industry Correspondents Association and won Brand Excellence in CSR in 2012 by Marketing World Publications. It was awarded the prestigious Product of the Year award for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006 by ThisDay Newspapers and won the Super Brand Award in 2007, 2010 and 2012 as well as Household Brand of the Year Award for 2007. This year 2016 also, INDOMIE has been named by the KANTAR worldpanel as the number one brand in Nigeria.
For its several contributions towards the development of education within the country and for promoting development through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Dufil Prima emerged as the company with the highest votes at the first Social Enterprise Reports and Awards (SERA) in 2007. Before then, in 2005, the company also won the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Ogun State Chapter’s 2005 Merit Awards as the Most Outstanding in Corporate Social Responsibility.
For close to a decade now, Indomie has been running a CSR campaign tagged: “INDOMIE Independence Day Awards,” otherwise called IIDA every October. During the course of the year, INDOMIE looks for heroes among children below the age of 15 who are known to have exhibited excellence in talent, intellectual sagacity and bravery in different spheres of life. The brand then finds ways to reward the identified children as an encouragement to do more and to motivate others. The heroes are given a scholarship of one million naira each, mainly for their education.
Still on CSR, the brand, through its company, Dufil Prima won the 2003 Ogun State Award for Excellence for its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in the state.
INDOMIE has been known for its groundbreaking campaigns that remain the talk of the town and a compendium of reference many years after. Perhaps one of the campaigns that have brought it a lot of recognition this year is the INDOMIE Belleful Challenge campaign. The campaign was simply a pre-launch campaign of the the Belleful SKU. Consumers were to do a skit on the Indomie SKU and the best skits were rewarded at the end of each week.
Amber Kumar explains the reason behind launching the SKU: “like the name suggests, for people who really love their Indomie in larger quantity, we came up with something really exciting. I mean you don’t have to empty 2/3 sachets at once to enjoy your Indomie in the desired quantity. With Belleful, they can simply empty one sachet and are good to go. That was the product idea/goal.
“Now, the name really came up because we wanted to be able to connect with the young adults and adults who are our main target audience. We decided to harp on the comedy platform. The product is 305 gram, which is a big one and once you have it, you can rest assured that you will be okay for the rest of the day.”
Onome Asagbra throws more light: “First is that we saw that INDOMIE had grown with the younger generation and now their consumption per time had also grown. So, as they grew older, children who before now consumed our brand as a full meal began to consume it as a snack.
“So, this was an attempt to establish ourselves in the full meal segment and be able to say that this is a meal you eat and you are okay. This SKU serves a dual purpose -first to identify with the consumers that have grown and also to identify with consumers that have a larger appetite. This is product for consumers who want a fast, convinient meal when they are really hungry and his is why we call it the TOTAL HUNGER BUSTER.”
Getting return on every investment is the aim of brands and organizations. Is there any noticeable ROI on the Indomie Belleful Challenge campaign? Onome answers. “I cannot give you exact figures but I will tell you returns on investment have been fantastic. It has also proved to be one of our very profitable SKUs as at today because we have been able to see a good level of acceptance from our consumers. For a product that is barely six months in the market, you will expect that it will take its own time but we have seen a good level of acceptance that has helped to establish not just the name but also the SKU itself and the brand itself in the mind of people who have hitherto not been eating it.”
Amber Kumar views it in another light. “Bellefull as a product is growing and everybody is talking about Indomie now. Both the young and adults have embraced and appreciated it. It has become well accepted even by the roadside ‘Mai Shayi’. These are people who took this product because they wanted to give more to the people in the community. They make full plates of delicacies in a neat space to the people and this has greatly helped on the return on investment for this particular product.”
Dufil Prima’s production plants, where the Indomie brand is produced, operate to the highest level of hygiene and efficiency with strict adherence to good manufacturing practices and good laboratory practices, to ensure consistency of product quality. They are registered with NAFDAC, attesting to suitability and safety for human consumption. The products are also MANCAP-certified to confirm that they are in conformity with Nigeria’s industrial standards.
Indomie is also endorsed by the Nutrition Society of Nigeria. Dufil Prima was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certification in February 2007 in recognition of the company’s commitment to quality.