According to the World Instant Noodles Association, 270 million servings of instant noodles are eaten around the world every day. Annually, that's 16 to 17 portions for every man, woman and child.
Invented in a backyard in post-war Japan, instant noodles are nothing less than the "default food for anyone short on money, or time, or a kitchen" and a triumph of modern food production, says BBC journalist Celia Hatton.
She explores the history of the most-traded legal item in American prisons in the BBC Radio 4 podcast The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle, and Richard Scott checks it out.
The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle is presented by Celia Hatton and produced by John Murphy for BBC Radio 4.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
"Sixty years after their invention, they have become the default food for anyone short on money, or time, or a kitchen. They even pop up in disaster zones and on long-haul flights. Last year, across the globe, more than 100 billion servings of instant noodles were eaten. That's more than 13 servings for every person on the planet" - Celia Hatton