Your Go-To Instant Noodles May Soon Cost More Than Ever. Here's Why

Instant noodles have a reputation for being a favorite among broke college students for a reason — they're notoriously cheap, typically costing under a dollar per package. However, due to issues with the current global wheat supply, you might have to start looking for a new affordable staple.

According to The Guardian, the cost of wheat is rising across Asia — and, as a result, noodles are getting more expensive. Per the World Economic Forum, the price of cereals (including wheat, barley, and other grains) has increased by 89% since September 2019, before the beginning of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in China, wheat prices are expected to increase by 30% this year, reported the Guardian. And in South Korea and Japan — where prices have already climbed — costs are expected to rise even further. These surging wheat prices can be attributed to a range of factors, including the war in Ukraine (a major global supplier of wheat), last year's flooding in China's wheat belt, and ongoing supply chain issues.

How will rising wheat costs impact instant noodle prices?

Instant noodles are one of the world's most popular foods: According to the World Instant Noodle Association, about 100 billion servings of instant noodles are consumed annually. And noodles — possibly more so compared to other wheat products — are susceptible to fluctuating costs depending on wheat prices.

Andrew Whitelaw, analyst at Australia's Thomas Elder Markets, shared this with The Guardian: "A big chunk of the cost of noodles is clearly wheat so it causes the price of noodles to rise. In bread production the cost of wheat accounts for about 10-15% of the price, but in noodles it's potentially higher."

According to a June 2 report from Reuters, recent sales of Chinese-harvested wheat reached 3,200 yuan ($477 USD) per metric ton — the highest price on record and 30% more expensive than it was just one year ago. Meanwhile, demand for wheat in China has remained stable.