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Pot Noodle Trials Move From Plastic To Paper Pot


Average read time: 3 minutes

A Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle sitting on a grey kitchen counter, with a fork and kettle.
  • Unilever shares latest packaging innovation with new Pot Noodle paper pot design, which is being launched with an initial trial of 500,000 pots in Tesco
  • The new paper pot is the biggest innovation to the brand’s iconic pot since it first launched over 40 years ago

Pot Noodle, the UK’s biggest instant hot snack brand1, has announced a trial switching its iconic pot to a new paper pot2, made with FSC certified paper.

The new paper pot is rolling out now exclusively in Tesco, with a trial of 500,000 pots of the brand’s most-popular flavour, Chicken and Mushroom.

Unilever’s packaging and manufacturing teams have been developing and refining the new paper pot for over three years, significantly reducing plastic usage in each pot, whilst ensuring the packaging still holds its distinctive shape and delivers the same quality eating experience.

Shopper feedback and insights from the trial will be used to support the subsequent scale-up of the innovation at the Pot Noodle factory, where Unilever has introduced new capabilities to switch from plastic to paper-based production for the trial.

Innovating with alternative materials – like paper – is a key part of Unilever's sustainable packaging strategy and will play an important role in delivering the organisation's commitment to halve their use of virgin plastic, alongside increasing use of recycled plastic, moving to ultra-concentrated formulas which use smaller bottles, and looking at other packaging innovations such as refillable bottles. If the trial is successful, the ambition is to move the full Pot Noodle range to paper pots, a move which once complete could remove 4,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year3.

The latest innovation from Pot Noodle follows another strong year for the brand, which has seen double digit growth and currently has 56% value share of the Pot Snacks category4.

Andre Burger, General Manager Foods (Nutrition) at Unilever UK & Ireland:

“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.”

Courtney Pallett, Packaging Campaigns Manager at Tesco:

“Removing or reducing plastic wherever we can remains a key focus for us, so we’re excited to work with Unilever to exclusively trial Pot Noodle’s new sustainably sourced, FSC certified paper packaging and to continue to work together to help protect our planet.”

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.


Nielsen 31st December 2022


New pot is 90% paper


Calculation: grammage of current plastic pot x average annual volume - grammage of plastic in paper pot (plastic layer) x average annual volume


Nielsen 20th May 2023 MAT

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