Plastic-Free Ramen Concept Features Dissolvable Film That Becomes The Sauce

by Rudy Sanchez on 08/26/2020 | 2 Minute Read

Instant ramen is one of the most popular foods in the world partly because of its sheer convenience; using instant ramen as a base, one can prepare a meal in minutes. 

Unfortunately, that convenience has, until now, necessitated the need for plastic. The instant noodles can only stay fresh when protected against air and moisture, so ramen is commonly packaged in a plastic pouch, or, in many cases, a styrofoam cup, which gets wrapped in plastic film. In many instances, the plastic packaging is unrecyclable, adding to the growing and acute plastic pollution crisis.

Editorial photograph

Product designer Holly Grounds set out to create a plastic-free solution to ramen's conventional, wasteful packaging, creating a biofilm that is not only edible but also serves as the soup’s base. The film gets infused with different flavors and ingredients, such as chili flakes, and then wraps around the ramen noodles, which get packaged in paper to keep everything sanitary.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

In addition to being plastic-free, Grounds made some other tweaks to improve the instant ramen experience. Her ramen is toroid-shaped, improving the broth bases’ solubility while decreasing cooking time. The doughnut shape also fits better in a bowl than a traditional ramen brick.

Ms. Grounds’ concept extends beyond instant ramen, as she’s explored its use as a serving pouch for similar dishes that can get cooked without much fuss like rice and pasta. 

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

Her flavor-infused film is the latest in the exploration of plastic-free ramen noodles. Designer Emily Enrica’s “Paper Noodles’” approach used biodegradable paper and molded fiber to replace the traditional plastic pouches, styrofoam cup, and singe-use plastic utensils to unlock the plastic-free achievement.

With any luck, some of the world's biggest ramen brands might even start paying attention.

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