Batchelors Super Noodles

Premier Foods is going head to head with Unilever by launching a rival to the mighty Pot Noodle.

The supplier will launch Batchelors Super Noodles into a convenience pot next year as part of its strategic tie up with Japanese noodle firm Nissin Foods, CEO Gavin Darby told The Grocer.

“The pot noodle category is worth £160m and growing and it feels right to have Batchelors in that category,” he said.

Nissin, which has registered over 200 patents for noodle technology alone in the past five years, had used its “advanced and extensive” R&D capabilities “to get the right texture and flavour for the UK market,” Darby said.

The new Batchelors Super Noodles pots will be produced and packed by Nissin at its manufacturing facility in Central Europe “to help us get to market quicker,” he added.

Premier is also set to roll out Nissin’s existing Soba instant noodle brand in the UK later this year, with further product launches “to follow”.

Available in a pot and pack format, Soba would add “real authenticity to the category” in the UK, the supplier said.

The two companies are also working together to develop a new branded range of noodle snacks to be launched under Premier’s Sharwood’s brand in the first half of 2017.

Nissin owns a near 20% stake in Premier and the two companies entered into a formal relationship agreement in April, after US spices firm McCormick announced it was withdrawing its takeover bid for the UK supplier.

In a document distributed to its 20 largest shareholders following the deal, Premier said it could “leverage” Nissin’s R&D and existing patents to reformulate and relaunch a host of its own-product lines.

It hinted at other expansions to the Batchelors Super Noodles range, including the potential launch of Super Noodles XL, an upgrade of Batchelors Cup a Soup using a low-fat powdered soup patent which offers a conventional soup mouth-feel, and a method of freeze-drying meat that could refresh its Deli Box and Pasta’n’Sauce ranges.