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Miliket: the fallen king of Vietnamese noodles

By Ngoc Tuyen   August 23, 2016 | 06:00 am GMT+7

The original instant noodle firm has stuck to its roots... and its paper packaging.

Miliket instant noodles held a 90 percent market share in the 90's, but that figure has sunk to 2-4 percent due to cut-throat competition from other brands.

Miliket, produced by Food & Foodstuffs Colusa – Miliket Joint Stock Company, appeared on the market around 1975 and soon became a favorite among Vietnamese consumers.

When it came to instant noodles, the first thing that sprang to mind was the two shrimps on the paper packaging.

miliket-the-fallen-king-of-vietnamese-noodles

However, when the market opened up, Miliket's share was quickly eaten up by competitors.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed that Acecook Vietnam, owned by a Japanese investor, is dominating Vietnam’s noodle market with a 50 percent market share, followed by two local brands with a combined share of 30 percent.

Unsurprisingly, this has punched a huge hole in Milliket's profits.

In 2014, Colusa – Miliket recorded pre-tax earnings of VND26.7 billion ($1.2 million), down neary a third from 2013.  That figure rose to VND41 billion last year, but that was mainly due to falling prices for ingridients and cutting-cost measures the company had taken.

Declining profits have also prevented Miliket from investing in media campaigns.

Many branding experts and consumers think that the once king of Vietnamese noodles is too conservative and should have changed the packaging years ago. However, this would be unlikely to attract new consumers, and may upset the die-hard fans of the brand.

Others say that the packaging has helped Miliket survive as it reminds customers of the old days.

Miliket noodles are rarely displayed on supermarkets shelves or in convenience stores. Instead the product aims at middle and lower class customers, especially those living in rural areas.

Leaders of Colusa – Miliket said that this year, they plan to expand their market share with a new strategy.

Financial experts, however, said that it won’t be easy for the company to cope with big competitors as the Vietnamese noodle market starts to slow down.

Data from the World Instant Noodles Association showed that Vietnam, the world’s fourth largest consumer of noodles, sat down to 4.8 million servings in 2015, down four percent against 2014 and nearly eight percent against 2013.

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