Ramen Noodle news from all over

And as a bonus, yet another pun-a-riffic headline.

Upstart Hopes to Soup Up Ramen Noodles' Appeal - WSJ.com Instant ramen noodles, long hawked as a cheap, quick food for college kids and others with lean budgets, are going gourmet.

Last fall, Union Foods Newcorp. of Irvine, Calif., launched several ramen-noodle products, including Gourmet Snack Noodles Soup and Mamma Mia microwaveable noodles, that are low in sodium, have no monosodium glutamate and no trans fats. The company also is pushing new noodle lines infused with vegetables, as well as ones with spices and sauces that appeal to different ethnic tastes.

In addition to taking the unhealthy ingredients out of its noodles, Union Foods is putting good stuff into a more diversified line of products. For instance, it's injecting noodles with vegetables like spinach and beets. It offers a line of “picante,” or spicy, noodles called Enchilosa, and came out in October with a higher-end product called Fiesta that comes in a biodegradable container, not the traditional Styrofoam. Both target Hispanic consumers.

Union Foods also launched in December an Asian-market product called Dae Jang Gum, which uses a spice based on kimchi, a traditional Korean dish of spicy pickled vegetables such as napa cabbage. And its new Mamma Mia Spinach Noodles with Alfredo Sauce is packaged in a biodegradable cornstarch and paper container.

All this new goodness is going to cost consumers, though: $2.50 to $2.99 each, compared with 10 to 50 cents for its original ramen noodles, which the company still sells.

Mr. Sim says his ultimate goal is to attract interest from high-end food retailers like Whole Foods of Austin, Texas, and Trader Joe's Co., Monrovia, Calif. He says the company is in the early stages of sending them samples.

Union Foods ought to put a little obit/honorarium for Mr. Noodle himself (Momofuku Ando) on each cup.


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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 25, 2007 5:17 PM.

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