Ramen, the Japanese-style noodle soup, has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity in recent years, with new shops dedicated to its slurpable goodness cropping up in major U.S. cities all the time. Now, it seems, the brothy noodle dish has overtaken a segment of the population that is far removed from the usual urban foodie hot spots.

According to the BBC, instant ramen noodles have now usurped tobacco as the most valuable commodity in U.S. prisons. “Prisoners are so unhappy with the quality and quantity of prison food that they receive that they have begun relying on ramen noodles — a cheap, durable food product — as a form of money in the underground economy,” researcher Michael Gibson-Light tells the British news service.

Gibson-Light spent a whole year interviewing inmates and studying the monetary practices of men behind bars. He found that packages of noodles are as good as, if not better than, cigarettes, stamps and envelopes as forms of currency behind bars.

Just wait until someone introduces Swedish Fish Oreos into the general prison population.