Unilever UK Foods is planning to invest over &£10m in a massive “reinvention” of snack brand Pot Noodle. It is understood that the renovation plans are designed to boost flagging sales by attracting new consumers.
The company aims to reinvent Pot Noodle as a snack for all consumers, rather than its core market of 18- to 24-year-old males and students. It is understood that Unilever hopes to attract a wider variety of consumers, particularly women, to the brand.
The radical makeover of the product will also include a complete change of packaging and better-quality ingredients. Unilever will also remove all artificial flavours, colours and preservatives and will use a higher quality of noodles.
The changes will be introduced by May next year.
The company is understood to be considering a variety of options for the packaging, including clear or different-coloured pots. It is also addressing problems with the product, such as lumps of powder that do not dissolve in the hot water.
It is understood that sales have slumped since 2003, when they were boosted by a variety of limited-edition flavours, and that Pot Noodle was hit badly by the Sudan 1 food dye scare earlier in the year. In the year to May 22, 2005, sales of the brand dropped by 13 per cent (TNS). UK sales are &£120m.
Observers say the revamp is a key part of Unilever’s strategy for next year. The changes will be supported by a full marketing package, including a major television campaign and sampling.
HHCL United handles Pot Noodle’s advertising.