British consumer goods company Unilever has announced the launch of an initial trial to use paper pot packaging for its instant hot snack brand Pot Noodle.

The Forest Stewardship Council-certified packaging will be tested to potentially permanently replace Pot Noodle’s current plastic pot.

As part of this pilot, Pot Noodle has decided to roll out a total of 500,000 paper-based pots for its Chicken and Mushroom flavour. It will be available exclusively in Tesco stores across the UK.

The trial will see both companies collect direct feedback and insights from consumers that will help in scaling up the innovation at Pot Noodle’s packaging factory, where Unilever said it has already delivered new capabilities to ease the process of switching from plastic to paper-based production.

The latest launch builds on three years of development and refining work undertaken by Unilever’s packaging and manufacturing teams.

The teams developed the new pot while retaining the distinctive shape of the original packaging.

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The trialled pots can be recycled at home along with other cardboard and paper packaging. It also comes with an On-Pack Recycling Label to provide clear guidance for customers on how to properly dispose of the packaging. 

The paper pot holds a single layer of ultra-thin plastic film to ensure that the ingredients inside the pack remain fresh. This film also acts as barrier protection and protects the paper when water is added.

However, Unilever assured that this plastic film ‘does not inhibit the recyclability of the pot’.

The noodle pot also includes sauce sachets, which can be taken to soft plastic collection points at selected retailers.

Unilever UK & Ireland general manager for foods/nutrition Andre Burger said: “From material development and testing through to new manufacturing processes and capabilities, big packaging innovations require the investment of time and expertise across many teams and partners.

“There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but we are committed to reducing the plastic in our packaging and to a paper-based future for our pots, without compromising on the Pot Noodle experience our shoppers know and love.”