- Cup Noodles, owned by Nissin Food Products, announced the launch of Cup Noodles Very Veggie, the brand's first instant noodle cup made with a full serving of vegetables, according to PR Newswire.
- Each Very Veggie product contains a quarter of a cup of dehydrated vegetables, which rehydrate to half a cup when hot water is added. The packaged noodles come in chicken, spicy chicken and beef flavors, and contain a mix of edamame, carrots, broccoli, corn, green beans, cabbage, red bell pepper and tomatoes.
- "We believe in listening to our consumers, and following our recipe change last year, the number one consumer request was more vegetables – so that's what we've done," Leslie Mohr, vice president of marketing for Nissin Foods USA, said in a statement. “We all know we need to be eating more vegetables, and we're thrilled to be rolling out a product that allows consumers to do that easily."
The ultimate convenience food, Cup Noodles has been a college and brown bag lunch staple for both its low cost and quick-and-easy preparation. Nutritional content was never one of its main selling points.
But Nissin Food Products, which owns Cup Noodles, has worked to upgrade its list of ingredients during the last year to capture a growing number of consumers who are looking to eat healthier. In 2016, all Cup Noodles products were retooled to reduce their sodium load and eliminate added MSG and artificial flavors. Now, it’s adding a full serving of vegetables. But does this make Cup Noodles a healthy food?
Nutrition information for Cup Noodles Very Veggie is not currently available, but the traditional Cup Noodles has roughly 45% of the daily recommended amount of sodium. The decision to add a serving of vegetables to a well-liked product like this is a good branding move. Consumers who don’t scour nutrition labels will probably see this as a healthier alternative to the traditional Cup Noodles.
This latest launch of Very Veggie will likely be popular with consumers who already purchase Cup Noodles. Nissin claims the flavor is the same, and they’re not skimping on noodles to pack in more vegetables. This could help the company attract consumers interested in improving their diets, but not yet ready to start making their own vegetable noodle soup.
Adding veggies to existing, less-than-healthy formulas isn't a new strategy for food manufacturers. It will be interesting to see the extent to which consumers will convince themselves a product is healthy because it contains a value-add. If Cup Noodles Very Veggie is a success, it's likely that other manufacturers with sodium- or sugar-rich products will look to innovate with extra fruits and vegetables, rather than invest in ways to parse down existing ingredients.