|Product type||Instant noodle snack food|
|Produced by||Croespenmaen, near Crumlin, Caerphilly, Wales|
|Previous owners||Golden Wonder|
Pot Noodle is a brand of instant noodle snack foods, available in a selection of flavours and varieties. This dehydrated food consists of wide noodles, assorted dried vegetables and flavouring powder. It is prepared by adding boiling water, which after two to three minutes softens the noodles and dissolves the powdered sauce.
Pot Noodle has been linked to lad culture, with its advertising and packaging being viewed as controversial and sexist. Pot Noodle flavours, as of December 2019, include Original Curry, Bombay Bad Boy (a spicier version of the classic curry variety), Sweet & Sour, Beef & Tomato, Chicken & Mushroom, Mac 'n' Cheese, Thai Green Curry and Chow Mein.
Other flavours have included Chicken Korma, Pulled Pork, Jamaican Jerk, Barbecue, Chilli Beef, Sausage Casserole, Sticky Rib, Christmas Turkey and Stuffing, Seedy Sanchez (Mexican fajita) and Cheese and Tomato.
Instant noodles were originally developed in 1958 by Momofuku Ando as Cup Noodle. Golden Wonder launched the Pot Noodle brand in the United Kingdom in 1977. In July 1995, Best Foods, which produces Hellmanns mayonnaise, paid then owner Dalgety plc $280 million for its Golden Wonder Pot Noodle instant hot snacks manufacturing business.
Bestfoods, known as CPC international before 1997, was itself acquired by Unilever in June 2000. Unilever kept the Pot Noodle brand and its sole production factory, after it sold the rest of the Golden Wonder business in January 2006 to Tayto. Golden Wonder later established another line of pot noodles called The Nation's Noodle (renamed Noodle Pot in 2016) in direct competition with their former brand.
Pot Noodles are manufactured in Croespenmaen, near Crumlin, Caerphilly, Wales, which became the topic of an advertising campaign of 2006, showing fictitious Pot Noodle mines in Wales. The factory typically produces 175 million pots annually.
The public perception of the product was often that it was of a low quality, and only eaten as a result of laziness or poverty. Around 2006, Pot Noodle's recipe was changed to make the product healthier. This mostly involved cutting down on the amount of salt in the product. A "GTi" variant, prepared in a microwave instead of adding boiling water, was introduced in the end of the 2000s and was the first Pot Noodle to contain real meat. In 2007, the brand changed their logo.
Pot Noodle has often given promotional gifts away, including a 'horn' and a 'spinning fork.' During the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Unilever sponsored a musical directed by David Sant, and created by advertising agency Mother, set in a Pot Noodle factory. All non GTi pot noodles are suitable for vegetarians, but not for vegans.
The Pot Noodle brand has been involved in a number of controversial advertising campaigns. In August 2002, a series of television adverts that described Pot Noodle as "the slag of all snacks" was withdrawn after complaints to the Independent Television Commission.
The related poster campaign, revolving around the "Hot Noodle" range with a tagline of "hurt me, you slag" was withdrawn by Unilever after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints that "the tone could be interpreted as condoning violence".
In May 2005, the Advertising Standards Authority received 620 complaints, about a series of advertisements featuring a man with a large brass horn in his trousers, with the suggestive slogan "Have you got the Pot Noodle horn?". Some of the complaints described them as "tasteless and offensive". The three advertisements had been already approved for restricted times, primarily after the 9:00pm watershed.
The ASA did not uphold the complaints. In its decision, while it accepted the campaign was "a little crude," that they were harmless and "the timing restriction was appropriate." In May 2013, New Statesman writers Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and Holly Baxter described Pot Noodle as "Lad Culture in snack form, an edible Page Three; drooling, retrograde sexism, and any PR exec who tries to tell us otherwise... can jog on."
Golden Wonder introduced a similar convenience food "Pot Rice" in the beginning of the 1980s. Pot Rice was made from dehydrated rice, wheat protein, vegetables, and flavourings, sold in a plastic pot. Pot Rice was later manufactured by Unilever and Knorr when the Pot Noodle brand went through a series of acquisitions and takeovers in the 1990s.
Posh Noodle was a variation on the typical pot noodle, consisting of thinner, ramen like noodles and available in three Asian themed flavours, launched in 2003. In April 2019, this concept was revived somewhat, with the launch of the range Asian Street Style, featuring wide rice noodles and low calorie content, made in similar flavours inspired by street food.
Pot Rice was discontinued in the beginning of the 2000s. Pot Rice flavours have included "Chicken Risotto", "Chicken Curry", "Beef &Tomato", "Beef chilli" and "Cod and parsley".. Pot Rice received a limited relaunch in 2018. "Pot Mash" was a similar branded mashed potato snack, sold by the makers of Pot Noodle in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the end of the 1990s.
"Pot Casserole" consisting of dried vegetables and soya protein was introduced during the 1980s, but discontinued before the turn of the century. "Pot Pasta" and "Pot Spaghetti" combined dried pasta pieces with a sachet of Parmesan cheese, and was available for some time in the 1990s. However, in 2017, Pot Pasta was relaunched. "Pot Sweet" was a dessert range available in four varieties, introduced in the mid 1980s, and discontinued shortly afterwards.