Momofuku Ando invented the world’s first instant noodles, Chicken Ramen, in 1958. After going out on his own at the young age of 22, he carried out various businesses based on his firm belief that there must be “something that can be done to help people” and “a job that will make the world a better place.”
In addition, after witnessing the sight of starving people filling the streets after the end of World War II, Ando keenly realized that food was extremely important because without food to sustain our health and well-being, it would be impossible to meet higher level needs such as the need for clothing, homes, art or culture.
The sight of long lines of people waiting to eat a single bowl of ramen in the black market near Osaka Station immediately after World War II ended is what inspired Ando to invent instant noodles. He became determined to develop instant noodles as noodles were loved by many Japanese people. He felt that the long lines of people indicated a significant underlying demand.
Ando set five development objectives. The instant noodles had to taste delicious, with a flavor that consumers would not get tired of, be preservable and capable of being stored in a household kitchen, could be prepared quickly, be affordable, and lastly, be safe and sanitary.
The instant noodles produced were like nothing anyone has ever seen before and people were taken by surprise. They became a major hit and were even dubbed ‘magic ramen ’. NISSIN’s instant noodles revolutionized food culture all over the world.
The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck on January 17, 1995. This triggered flashbacks of the burned ruins after World War II and Ando knew instinctively that this disaster would be ensued by a period of hunger. Employees were organized into rescue squads and kitchen cars equipped with running hot water were dispatched to evacuation shelters.
The rescue squad prepared hot instant noodles for disaster victims they encountered along their way to the evacuation shelters. Even at the evacuation shelters, they served Chicken Ramen to around 1,000 people. Ando experienced starvation during and after World War II. This activity reflected his wish and desire to “never want people to endure the same hardship again”.
The NISSIN FOODS Group carries on the spirit of the founder Momofuku Ando and undertakes various social contribution and support activities.
For instance, during the occurrence of large-scale disasters, including the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake, kitchen cars were dispatched to the respective disaster-stricken sites. In addition, in response to requests by the central and local governments, thus far we have provided more than 3.6 million bowls of instant noodles as relief supplies. In addition, we provide food assistance overseas during disasters through the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA) and are undertaking measures to eradicate hunger via the United Nations World Food Programme.
Furthermore, the NISSIN FOODS Group is also conducting measures in case of a disaster as a part of the Hyakufukushi Project, which implements social contribution initiatives. The projects cover a wide range of activities, including the “NISSIN Employee Disaster Preparation Training” Project to train employees so that they will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and readiness to assist people around them and to gain food assistance skills, the “Forewarned is Forearmed! Chicken Ramen Survival Project” which teaches children helpful survival skills and demonstrates how instant noodles can be useful in times of emergency, and “Keep Your Pantry Stocked for an Emergency: The Rolling Stockers,” which aims to raise awareness of the Rolling Stock method and encourage consumers to practice it. Rolling Stock is a method whereby food stored for emergencies is consumed and replenished on a regular basis. This ensures a certain level of food reserves are constantly stockpiled in the home.