Kabuto chooses 100% recyclable packaging with a hidden eco-warrior

16/10/2020 | 5 min read
Julie Eller

In June 2017, Kabuto Noodles began using Greiner Packaging’s K3® cardboard-plastic pot for its noodles range. We talked to Kabuto Noodles founder Crispin Busk, to discover why the business made the change and how the pack’s unique features create a consumer communication opportunity with a feel-good factor.

“Our old noodle pots were made from paper, like a coffee cup, but had a plastic liner,” Crispin said. “When we started using these ‘paper’ cups we thought they were fully recyclable through everyone’s normal household paper recycling. We were upset to discover a while later that this wasn’t the case. There are actually only two recycling centres in the whole of the UK that can separate the plastic liner from the paper, meaning most of the cups – as well as the cups from your local coffee shop – actually ended up in landfill.”

“When we found this out, we were obviously disappointed and decided that we didn’t want to carry on using these ‘paper’ cups. So, we made the decision to move to a new type of packaging that is 100% recyclable. Our new pots are now made with a foil lid, a removable card sleeve and plastic cup that can all be recycled in normal household recycling.”

Working with the Greiner Packaging team at their factory in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Kabuto Noodles quickly adopted the K3® cardboard-plastic pot for its entire range. The K3® light-weight thermoformed tub is made from polypropylene (PP) and uses up to 33% less material than a conventional direct-printed, thermoformed cup of the same size. It is wrapped with a cardboard outer layer, which can be produced with virgin or recycled board produced from sustainably managed forests, with full FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) chain of custody accreditation.

Environmental sustainability strategy

Being environmentally conscious is massively important to all of us at Kabuto Noodles. We’ve only got one planet, so we need to ensure we’re doing our part to look after it.

Crispin Busk

“A key element of our environmental sustainability strategy is delivered through our packaging. In 2019 we sold over 2.4 million pots to UK consumers and so using a pot that is 100% recyclable is vital to ensuring we are acting as a responsible business. It also allows us to offer our consumers the environmentally conscious choice they want when shopping within our category. For us, it doesn’t just stop with the outer packaging either, unlike some other instant noodle brands, our pots don’t have any extra sachets and unnecessary packaging to hold things like seasonings or sauces.”

Hidden eco-warrior

A unique feature of Greiner Packaging’s K3® is the outer wrapper, which when removed, reveals a ‘hidden eco-warrior’.

“The K3® pot and cardboard wrap helps us to go a step further and actively start conversations around recycling in a fun, engaging way,” Crispin said. “If we can get more people to recycle our pots and do it with a smile, then it means we’re doing our job!”

“Our ‘hidden eco-warrior’ has been a huge success in terms of consumer engagement. We’re regularly tagged in consumer posts across social media calling out how great of surprise this was to find, and thanking us for making them smile.”

“The reverse wrap on the K3® pot opens up lots of opportunities for us to surprise and delight our consumers, and whilst we see our eco-warrior sticking around for a while, we’re always open to exploring new ideas of how we can use this feature.”

Celebrating 10 years

“Kabuto is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. But 2020 hasn’t been the year we (or anyone!) expected, so we wanted to do something nice to thank those who have helped us get to where we are today. We’re planning to thank our lovely consumers and suppliers with some giveaways/gifts to celebrate.”

“Over the past 10 years, Kabuto Noodles has grown from being stocked in a handful of small independent stores to our pots being available to buy on the shelves of some of the UK’s biggest retailers and delivering value sales of over £4m (IRI 2019 data). 2019 was a big year for us, as we launched into the US market with Walmart and expanded our UK offering by launching our Meal Kits range in Sainsbury’s & Tesco.”

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