Do you know that you can get a noodle packet that is edible? This unique packaging may be the most sustainable yet.

According to the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), over 120 billion instant noodles got consumed in 2022, which is a lot of noodle packets.

Unfortunately, the number indirectly proves how much plastic packaging is discarded over the past times, causing significant harm to the environment. In this situation, we are in desperate need of methods that can alleviate this problem. Instant noodles, notorious for their harmful polystyrene and plastic packaging, are at the centre of attention.

British designer Holly Grounds, however, has created an edible noodle packet. The packaging is made of a tasteless biofilm composed of a small number of readily available ingredients, including potato starch, glycerine, and water with spices and flavourings set in the film. The film dissolves upon contact with boiling water, releasing the flavours into the broth, and for hygiene purposes, the noodle parcels are packaged in a wax-coated paper outer.

Holly Grounds’s edible noodle packaging

According to Grounds, her motivation stemmed from the countless long nights she spent studying, sustained by a packet of instant noodles that often contained “more plastic than noodles.” She began to realise the irony that a dish designed to be cooked and consumed within ten minutes employed packaging that takes over eight years to decompose.

She believes that convenience has become an inevitable part of daily life but often comes at the expense of the environment. That is why it is important for her to choose convenience that is also sustainable. If a quick meal or snack choices can be environmentally friendly, consumers may unknowingly help the planet.

Australian designer Emily Enrica believes that paper pulp is the solution for packaging. She created paper noodle packaging made from 100% biodegradable materials, from sauce and spice sachets to bowls and utensils. These materials ensure food safety and are microwave-safe. She tested that the paper remains intact when boiling hot water is poured into the packaging.

Emily Enrica’s paper noodle packaging

Although Emily’s Paper Noodles are conceptual, they seem practical enough to be commercialised. 

In addition to these designers’ ideas, instant noodle companies are also exploring ways to provide more environmentally friendly packaging. British chain of East Asian-inspired grocery company, Itsu, announced last year that they have replaced the packaging for their instant udon noodles with the K3® packaging solution. This packaging applies cardboard packaging instead of plastic packaging and is 100% recyclable.

Itus’s udon noodles packaging

As the plastic pollution crisis continues to worsen, finding alternatives to plastic packaging for instant food items is crucial.