Saturday, July 28, 2007

Costing a packet

Hard on the heels of recent shock news about the price of pork, prices for instant noodles, the most popular convenience food in mainland China, are increasing nationwide due to dramatic increases in the cost of raw materials and "product improvement" (does this involve making them longer? more crinkly? less soggy? less toxic?).

Sources from an organisation I confess I had never heard of before this news emerged, the World Instant Noodle Association China Branch (clearly the most powerful branch of all), said that prices will rise at an average rate of about 20% with the highest hike being around 40%. The China Economic Review said that "Prices of high-end instant noodles have already climbed and further price rises will mainly come in locally made medium- and low-end noodles."

Considering there are 1.3 billion people in China it has always struck me as astonishing that there aren't more instances of social unrest. The GDP keeps rising at an alarming rate (over 10% this quarter) and the cost of raw materials is inevitably increasing. When the cost of a bowl of noodles rises by 40%, and the average wage is still only US$1,000 a year, you can see a crisis coming.

(There are low-end noodles? This must be the equivalent of the introduction of first class post. The service stays the same, but now you have to introduce a poorer version and call it second class.)

1 comment:

Claire said...

I thought an increase in GDP was a good thing. Anyway, all that concerns me about this is that noodle prices in Japan remain stable while I'm there.