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Nissin Is Looking For The Next Great Food Innovation In $50K Contest

by Rudy Sanchez on 09/22/2021 | 3 Minute Read

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Instant ramen, the inexpensive, tasty food enjoyed by pretty much everyone across the globe, was not created by a team of well-funded food scientists for some large CPG firm. No, the ubiquitous and humble flash-fried noodles were invented in a shed by Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Foods. 

The noodle bricks would prove to be a hit with consumers, but after a trip to America, it became clear to Ando that his instant ramen would need to come packaged in its own cup in which it could be both prepared and consumed. 

And that leads us to the Cup Noodles. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beloved brand, Nissin is calling on those with ramen on the brain to create the next food innovation, offering the best concept $50,000 to make their creations a reality.

Nissin isn’t stifling ingenuity with a lot of rules for its “Use Your Noodle” contest. The Cup Noodles maker has partnered with TikTok teen chef Eitan Bernath to find food “innovators, entrepreneurs, cooks, and community leaders” with “original food concepts, products, gadgets, ideas, or unexpected flavors that could rock the food industry,” according to the contest press release. Entrants must meet some contest requirements (found here), but entering the contest is easy—users simply submit a 1-minute video pitching their food innovation, tagging Nissin, and using the contest’s hashtag. According to the instant ramen masters, the idea doesn’t have to necessarily involve Cup Noodles, either, though we're sure it couldn't hurt.

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“Mr. Ando believed ‘peace will come to the world when there is enough food,’ and that revolutionized the industry with the debut of Cup Noodles in 1971,” Michael J. Price, CEO of Nissin Foods, said in the contest announcement. “This anniversary marks a major milestone for the brand as we continue to celebrate Cup Noodles as a global food innovator and fan-favorite, cultural mainstay.”

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According to Nissin, it has sold 50 billion Cup Noodles in over 100 countries alone, and while the styrofoam cups are technically recyclable, whether you can recycle those cups is dependent on what gets accepted by your local curbside service. A plastic-free alternative that performs as well as packaging and bowl would be a better solution than recyclable cups, of course, but as of yet unrealized at a commercial scale—though we’ve seen some great concepts already.

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“The innovation that set Cup Noodles apart from the beginning was the cup itself—everything included and easy to take on the go for the ultimate convenience and value. For the future of the food industry, package innovations that improve upon ease of use, eating experience, or sustainability would be great to see!” Jaclyn Park, VP of marketing at Nissin Foods USA, said to Dieline.

If you’ve got a packaging innovation on your noodle and could use $50K to realize it, you have until October 15th of this year to submit your idea.

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