Flipping the lid: Nissin cuts plastic use with new cup noodle packaging innovation
Previously, the sticker kept the lid shut after hot water was poured into the cup noodle container, however it was made from plastic.
The new double flap lid will offer the same action, with a W shape flap to keep the lid shut.
There is no change of the lid material, which is derived from paper.
According to Haruka Aoki, chief of the corporate communication division at Nissin Foods Holdings, this move was aimed at reducing plastic waste.
“In recent years, environmental issues concerning plastic waste have been attracting a great deal of attention. By eliminating the plastic lid-closing sticker used in cup noodles, this initiative aims to reduce the amount of plastic used by 33 tons annually.”
The new lid will continue to ensure food safety and hygiene, since it is sealed using heat and pressure, similar to the previous lid.
“Not only is this method safe because no glue or adhesives are used, but also highly tamper-proof and effective in protecting the ingredients inside the package. In the final process of packaging, we shrink-wrap the entire package which further protects the package from stains and keeps it clean,” Aoki added.
Products that will carry the new double flap lid include the regular-sized cup noodles range, as well as its lower calorie offering Assari Oishii.
The big and mini-sized cup noodles are excluded. This new lid will only apply to products sold in Japan.
In addition to these products, Nissin hopes to roll out this initiative to other noodle products that use the same type of containers.
This initiative is part of Nissin’s Cup Noodles Do It Now! Project.
“We are committed not only to creating delicious products, but also aims to tackle issues such as food safety, environment, disaster prevention, health, society, and working environment,” Aoki said.
In February 2021, Nissin launched a website to give consumers a “behind the scenes” of cup noodles and learn about food quality and safety.
It also including information on the raw materials used in cup noodles, information on the containers, the manufacturing process and quality control at the factory.
Aoki explained the information covered included "Nakami no Gimon (Little Known Ingredient Facts)" which explains the raw materials used in cup noodles as well as information about the containers, "Koujo no Gimon (Little Known Facts about the Manufacturing Plant)" which explains the manufacturing process and quality control at the factory, and “Eiyou no Gimon (Little Known Nutrition Facts) which offers ideas for adding ingredients to cup noodles to create a nutritious and well-balanced meal.
For its working environment category, Nissin revamped its secondary packaging, which are the cardboard boxes used for packing the tall cup-type instant noodle products, allowing for easier and faster opening and assembling.
“We created this box with the purpose of opening a cardboard box which used to take 15 seconds per box in just 3 steps and 3 seconds. The box's upper lid and sides are integrated, making for easy disassembly and greatly reduces the time and effort required to display products in stores,” Aoki described.
Under the health category, Nissin launched the Cup Noodles Pro High Protein and Low Carb in April 2021. For this initiative, the firm added 15g of protein into its products, becoming the first protein-enhanced cup-type instant noodles created in Japan.
Another initiative rolled out was replacing Styrofoam containers used to contain the noodle content, to ECO Cup, which is made from paper.