The trail blazer in Nigerian noodles market, Indomie Noodles, product of Dufil Prima Foods Limited is currently living the adage “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. The brand which entered the foray as a monopoly with 100 per cent market control is fighting to remain the market leader after losing 40 per cent of market share to competition.
Presently holding 60 per cent stake in the market, the Indomie brand is fighting off strong competition such Honeywell, Chikki Noodles, Golden Penny Noodles, Mimee Noodles, Dangote Noodles, Uno and some not too popular brands: Sun yum, Chefme, Tummy Tummy, Cherie, Star, Mc Chew, Niccus and Smoodles amongst others.
To add salt to injury, Mama Gold Noodles, a new brand just joined in. Known for making pasta and rice, Mama Gold is determined to get a piece of the pie in the noodles market making speculations that by the end of the calendar year Indomie would count itself lucky if they still control 50 per cent of the noodles market.
With the current recession negatively affecting the buying power of the Consumer, brand quality which used to be a major selling proposition for Indomie Noodles is gradually being replaced in the buying decision matrix with quantity and price flexibility.
In some markets Indomie Noodles goes for as high as 1,500 Naira while its close rival Honeywell sell between 1,200 to 1,250 Naira and this is gradually but steadily seeing Indomie Noodles lose market shares piece by piece.
If there is ever anytime to re-position the brand and save the household name that has been around since 1988, that time is now. The market has been saturated with price conscious brands whether Indomie likes it or not the brand has been positioned to price and competition.
Indomie is now the most expensive noodles in the market. The brand should not fight this but rather embrace it and transform itself into a premium brand maintaining its quality and global appeal at the same engage in product mix extension by introducing a mass-market friendly brand that would enable Indomie remain relevant in that segment instead of killing its brand in other to compete in the price war which it would MOST LIKELY lose.
The new brand should have an extension name related to the global noodles leader to ride on the success of the mother name but strong enough to stand alone and create its own identity and market. This is not the time to borrow from Peter to pay Paul; indomie should learn and not repeat the mistakes of Peak Milk in the dairy industry by not kill a great brand to battle with underdog brands because they will definitely lose.