Ramen is a great go-to meal when your budget is a bit tight.
It often has an incredibly low price for a good amount of food.
Ramen also has several different flavors, so you never run the risk of getting bored with it.
Considering how cheap ramen is, you may wonder how it manages to keep its prices so low when other food prices rise.
Why Is Ramen So Cheap? (10 Reasons)
Store-bought ramen tends to cost anywhere from 50 cents to $1 for a package.
You can find more expensive varieties, especially if you buy ramen at a restaurant.
Store-bought ramen is cheap because it uses cheap ingredients and doesn’t have an expensive labor process.
Let’s dive deeper into why ramen is so cheap.
1. Cheap Ingredients
Ramen is cheap because it contains cheap ingredients.
The more expensive a product is, the higher the cost of manufacturing it.
That’s because the manufacturer has to make its money back on the costs put into making the product.
The company also needs to earn a profit.
Otherwise, there’s no point in producing the product.
Ramen is extremely cheap to make.
Because of that, ramen companies are able to make their products in bulk without having to spend too much money.
Since there isn’t much of an operational cost involved, they don’t need to charge as much money to make their money back on their costs and earn a profit.
Ramen is primarily comprised of ramen noodles and some spices.
The noodles contain wheat flour that’s usually enhanced or refined.
Some more expensive ramen might add chicken bits or other types of ingredients into the mix.
Standard ramen, however, just has the noodles and a spice or sauce pack.
Those packs don’t cost a lot of money to make, either.
Since wheat flour is cheap, it’s cheap to make ramen noodles from it.
Should wheat flour ever become expensive, then you may notice that the price of ramen has also increased.
Otherwise, because its ingredients are so cheap, ramen is also cheap.
2. Lasts A Long Time
Ramen is cheap because it lasts a long time.
The way the manufacturers make ramen allows it to last a long time.
You can store ramen for several weeks, if not months, before it starts to go bad.
That’s because manufacturers dry the ramen to let it age.
When you cook the ramen, you’re basically rehydrating the noodles and making them edible.
While you can also eat ramen while it’s hard, that isn’t recommended.
The fact that ramen lasts a long time makes it cheap because you can buy it in bulk without worrying about it spoiling.
That isn’t the case for many other types of food.
When you buy vegetables or fruit, for example, you have to use them within a few days.
Otherwise, they get moldy and spoil.
The same goes for bread and meat.
It doesn’t last a long time unless you freeze it.
You don’t need to freeze ramen, and it will remain good to eat for a long time.
This enables you to buy ramen in large quantities when it’s on sale, then store it for later use.
Since you don’t have to worry about it spoiling, you’re less likely to waste ramen.
You’re not wasting ramen, so you’re also not wasting your money.
3. Cheap Spices
Most ramen packages come with some sort of sauce or spice pack.
When you cook your ramen, you add the spices or sauce to give the noodles a bit more flavor.
You can make your ramen even cheaper by buying the varieties that don’t come with a spice pouch.
However, the spice and sauce pouches really only add a few cents to the package of ramen.
The reason they’re only a few cents is that the spices and sauce are also extremely cheap to make.
The manufacturers don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying spices since they’re relatively cheap.
Depending on who the manufacturer is, they may even grow their own spice or have farmers in their area that grow the spice.
They usually don’t have to import spices.
If they do, that could add some expense to certain spices.
Whenever the cost of certain spices increases, you may notice that the price of any item that includes that spice might also increase.
In most cases, however, the spices remain cheap to make or include in your ramen package.
As a result, you’re able to enjoy a flavorful bowl of ramen without having to worry about an expensive price.
4. Filling Meal
Ramen is cheap because it’s a filling meal.
You may have had an experience when you bought a meal for a relatively expensive price only to find that it didn’t quite fill you up.
You end up spending more money to actually get full.
There may be a case of you having a choice between two different sizes for the same meal.
You might choose the larger meal because it fills you up more than the smaller meal.
In both situations, you’re spending more money on food because the food you ate didn’t fill you up properly.
That usually isn’t the case with ramen.
Noodles are extremely filling.
While it may take a bit longer for you to realize you’re full, in most cases, a meal of ramen can fill you up.
This makes ramen cheap for a few different reasons.
The first is that it means you don’t have to go out and buy more food to fill yourself up.
You’re not eating ramen and a side, for example.
The ramen is enough to fill you up, so you can save money by not buying a side dish.
Secondly, it also means you don’t have to make another bowl of ramen.
One way that you can make ramen a bit more expensive is to go through it all quickly.
While ramen is cheap, it isn’t that cheap if you end up having to buy 20 boxes of it each day because you go through it quickly.
One meal of ramen should be enough to fill you up, in most cases.
Since you’re full, you won’t go through all your ramen packages in a single night.
That helps you save money since it ensures your ramen lasts a bit longer.
That means you’re spending less money over time.
5. Palm Oil
Ramen is cheap because it contains palm oil.
Palm oil is one of the ingredients used in ramen.
While there is a lot of pushback against the use of palm oil, it’s one of the cheapest sources of vegetable oil.
Ramen uses vegetable oil for a number of things.
Part of the reason palm oil is cheap is that it’s in high demand and in high supply.
A lot of manufacturers use palm oil in their products.
Because there’s a high demand for it, a lot of companies are involved in getting and sourcing palm oil.
This means that there’s usually a steady supply of palm oil in the market.
As such, ramen manufacturers don’t have to spend as much money on palm oil as they might on other sources of vegetable oil.
Palm oil is also readily available in the world.
Unfortunately, because palm oil is one of the factors behind deforestation, that might not always be the case.
For the time being, however, it remains an abundant resource that’s cheap to harvest and use in ramen.
6. Low Weight
Ramen is cheap because it doesn’t weigh much.
The weight of a product matters more than you might think when it comes to pricing.
Heavier objects cost more to ship.
That’s because carriers have to be mindful of how much weight they put on their trucks or planes.
If they weigh too much, then a few problems occur.
The first is that it adds more wear and tear to the vehicle.
That means the carrier is going to have to spend more money on maintenance and repairs.
Since that eats into their profits, that’s something they want to avoid.
Secondly, certain states have regulations about how heavy a truck can be on certain roads.
If the truck is too heavy for the road or highway, they’re going to need to pay a fee.
That also cuts into the carrier’s profits.
To cover those losses, the carrier charges more to ship heavier products.
Ramen is both small and lightweight.
It doesn’t add much weight to a truck at all.
Since the packages are also quite small and easily stackable, they also easily fit inside a truck.
This allows carriers to move a large number of them without taking on too much cost.
They don’t charge manufacturers as high a price.
Since shipping costs are low, the manufacturers are able to sell their ramen at low prices.
7. Mass Produced
Ramen is cheap because it’s a mass-produced product.
Ramen is simple and cheap to make.
As such, manufacturers are able to produce it in bulk.
The advantage of producing something in bulk is that it helps make the overall manufacturing process a bit cheaper.
That’s because they’re also able to sell in bulk.
Considering that ramen only costs a few cents or a few dollars, you may wonder how the company is able to make money.
They do so by selling ramen in large quantities.
When you shop for ramen, you may buy a few packages since they’re all cheap individually.
Others might also buy a few packages of ramen.
This helps the manufacturer make money because they’re essentially selling lots of ramen over time.
Since it’s cheap for them to make, they make a tidy profit with each ramen package that gets sold.
The goal of selling mass-produced products is to sell them in large quantities.
They’re not looking to make the best or tastiest ramen.
Manufacturers know that ramen enthusiasts buy ramen because it’s cheap.
They don’t do anything too fancy to distinguish their ramen from others.
Instead, they just keep the price low with the knowledge that customers are likely going to buy the cheapest ramen possible.
Since they’re selling a ton of it, they earn a sizable profit.
They keep prices cheap because they sell in large quantities.
8. Comes In Packages
Another reason ramen is cheap is that you can sometimes buy a larger package that contains several packages of ramen in it.
While these larger packages tend to cost more than an individual ramen package, you ultimately end up saving more money.
That’s because they usually sell the package at bulk prices.
It’s going to be a cent or two cheaper to buy the package of 10 ramen packages rather than buying 10 individual packages of ramen.
The fact that ramen also lasts a long time means you’re able to stock up on ramen easily.
You don’t have to worry about it spoiling, so you can buy as many of those large packages as you want, then spread your ramen dishes out across the month.
The large ramen packages save you money by letting you buy in bulk and make your ramen last a bit longer throughout the week or month.
9. Cheap Labor Process
Ramen is cheap because it’s cheap to produce.
Ramen is not difficult to make.
Manufacturers simply need to process the wheat and turn it into noodles.
Then they might soak the noodles in some sort of sauce to give them some flavor.
Otherwise, they toast the noodles to make them last longer, then package them up.
Because it isn’t difficult to make ramen, the companies don’t need to employ highly skilled workers.
Minimum wage workers can do the job just fine.
Since the workers aren’t earning high wages, it means the companies don’t have expensive labor costs.
That helps them keep the price of ramen down since there’s less cost for the sales to cover.
Its simplicity also means that manufacturers can likely automate a good portion of the process.
At most, they might have a few workers checking the quality of the food and maintaining the machinery.
Otherwise, they likely use machines to make the flour into noodles and take part in other processes.
Robots don’t need payment.
That helps them keep labor costs down even more.
Since labor is so cheap, manufacturers can sell their final products at lower prices.
10. Large Appeal
A final reason ramen is cheap is that it appeals to a large number of people.
Wealthy and poor buy ramen.
Those with tight budgets buy ramen because it helps them eat food while not wasting too much of their money.
The wealthy eat ramen because they enjoy it or because they like to use it in other dishes.
Since it appeals to all sorts of different people and budgets, manufacturers don’t have to worry about selling their products.
They don’t have to spend extra money on things like marketing.
You don’t see very many ramen commercials, for example.
The lack of marketing costs also helps manufacturers save money.
Since they’re spending less, they’re able to sell their products at cheaper prices.
Ramen’s appeal to many people also means that manufacturers don’t have to worry about trying to market it to a specific group of people.
For example, pool manufacturers have to sell their products to homeowners or resorts.
Those are the only individuals who might have an interest in buying a pool.
They have a specific group of people that they can get their money from.
Since it’s a small group of people, they need to set higher prices to cover costs and ensure a profit.
Manufacturers of ramen don’t have that concern.
They’re able to sell their product to a large number of people.
Because the number of consumers is large, ramen manufacturers can make a sizable profit without selling at high prices.
Ramen is a great meal to have when you’re low on money or in the mood for something comforting.
Manufacturers can keep ramen prices low because of how cheap it is to make and the ability to sell their product to almost anyone.
Should the ingredients ever become expensive, however, ramen might not be as cheap as it has always been.