Pot Noodle trials switching iconic plastic pot to paper

Pot Noodle trials switching iconic plastic pot to paper

Sustainability

Pot Noodle, one of the UK's leading instant hot snack brand, is embarking on a trial to replace its iconic plastic pot with a new paper pot made from FSC certified paper.

The trial, starting with 500,000 pots of the popular Chicken and Mushroom flavour, is exclusively launching in Tesco stores. Over the past three years, Unilever's packaging and manufacturing teams have diligently developed and refined the new paper pot, significantly reducing plastic consumption while maintaining the pot's distinctive shape and ensuring a high-quality eating experience.

Shopper feedback and insights garnered from the trial will be used to support the wider adoption of this innovation at the Pot Noodle factory. Unilever has introduced new capabilities in production, transitioning from plastic to paper-based manufacturing for the trial.

Unilever's sustainable packaging strategy focuses on innovation with alternative materials, such as paper. This strategy aligns with their commitment to halve the use of virgin plastic, increase the utilisation of recycled plastic, implement ultra-concentrated formulas in smaller bottles, and explore packaging innovations like refillable bottles. If successful, the trial aims to transition the entire Pot Noodle range to paper pots, potentially eliminating 4,000 tonnes of virgin plastic annually.

Pot Noodle trials move from plastic to paper pot
Pot Noodle trials move from plastic to paper pot © Unilever


The new pots can be recycled at home with other cardboard and paper packaging and include OPRL’s recycling labels to provide clear guidance to shoppers on how to dispose of their Pot Noodle packaging. A single layer of ultra-thin plastic film is used to provide barrier protection, which ensures ingredients remain fresh and protects the paper when water is added but doesn’t inhibit the recyclability of the pot. Soft plastics, like sachets, are not currently collected in recycling from homes in the UK but Pot Noodle sauce sachets can be taken in-store to soft plastic collection points in selected retailers.

This latest innovation by Pot Noodle comes on the heels of a successful year for the brand, boasting double-digit growth and capturing a 56% value share in the Pot Snacks category.

Andre Burger, General Manager Foods (Nutrition) at Unilever UK & Ireland, said: Pot Noodle has been a loved British brand for over 40 years, and whilst our great taste will never change, we're always challenging ways to make our products and packaging better. From material development and testing through to new manufacturing processes and capabilities, big packaging innovations require the investment of time and expertise across many teams and partners. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but we are committed to reducing the plastic in our packaging and to a paper-based future for our pots, without compromising on the Pot Noodle experience our shoppers know and love. We are now excited to learn from this initial trial with the ambition of bringing our paper pots to more shoppers across the UK soon.

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