Cup Noodles Ramen Will Abandon Its Classic Styrofoam Packaging

Nissin Foods USA, the company behind two iconic instant ramen products — Top Ramen and Cup Noodles — demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in 2021 by replacing the lid-closing stickers on its Cup Noodles with more environmentally friendly materials. Now, the company is planning further changes, specifically targeting the cups, which have been made from plastic-based polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam) since 1973.

On October 26, the company announced its transition from polystyrene to paper cup packaging, set to begin in early 2024. This move coincides with a period of strong sales for Nissin Foods USA, but also aligns with the company's broader environmental commitments. As part of its Earth Food Challenge, the company has pledged to significantly reduce its carbon emissions by 2030, with the ultimate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

When the new paper cups are introduced in early 2024, Nissin Foods USA will have entirely eliminated this type of plastic from Cup Noodles packaging, as well as from all other company products. "This updated packaging and the new paper cup marks an important milestone for Cup Noodles and a key step in our environmental commitment," said Michael Price, CEO of Nissin Foods USA, in the press release.

Cup Noodles will soon be microwavable

The shift from polystyrene to paper cups not only makes Cup Noodles packaging more environmentally friendly but also adds a new convenience: For the first time in the product's 50-year history, boiling water will no longer be a required step in the preparation process, as the products will now be safe to microwave. With the new packaging, one can simply add water, place the Cup Noodles in the microwave, and set the timer. It's that simple.

This microwaving convenience is essentially a byproduct of the company's progress toward its environmental goals. The new paper cups will be partially made from recycled fiber, while the accompanying sleeves will be entirely crafted from recycled paper, replacing the soon-to-be-phased-out plastic wrapper.

Nissin Foods USA also made headlines in September 2023 for the launch of its new extreme brand, Geki, featuring a new product: chili-infused instant noodles. With booming sales, comprehensive environmental commitments, and innovative new products, it appears to be a banner year for the long-standing company.