Suffering snacks! Pot Noodle boy turns out to be a girl

She's aged between 16 and 21, spends long hours working or studying, and hates cooking and washing up. She is also the biggest weekly consumer of Pot Noodles, according to the first academic study into pot snacks.

First launched 25 years ago in Lancashire, Pot Noodles are currently selling at an estimated five and a half pots a second - the biggest fans include stars such as David Beckham, Noel Gallagher and Gareth Gates.

But the brand is so popular among students that Unilever, its manufacturer, now has more than 50 student brand managers at universities across the country, promoting the snack in a variety of ways - including pot noodle evenings on campus.

The greatest fanbase, the report says, is among young women aged between 16 and 21, and that is in spite of such seemingly sexist advertising campaigns as "Pot Noodle - the Slag of All Snacks".

"Analysis ... revealed that more females than males consume snack pots several times a week,'' concludes the report, published in the British Food Journal.

The report was carried out by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan and Nottingham universities, and the researchers claim that the market for this type of food has thrived on a number of changes in society, including increased numbers of working women and reduced household sizes.

Consumers of some of the lesser-known brands were almost all women. Seven out of 10 people opting for Tastebreaks were women or girls, as were 100 per cent of Snackstop consumers. Women were also much more likely to opt for rice pot snacks, and a new type of Pot Noodle - Posh Noodle - is expected to increase the appeal among women.

"Convenience is the main asset," says the report. "There is very little preparation and clearing up, therefore reducing the time it takes to complete the mealtime experience."

Such convenience is of particular appeal to students, say the researchers. As the number of people entering full-time education has increased by 62 per cent in the last decade, it's perhaps not surprising that noodle consumption has also increased.

While conducting the study, researchers questioned a number of groups, including students and shoppers in Manchester, and civil servants in Wrexham.

Asked their opinions about the nutritional content of pot snacks, 31 per cent said they had too many additives, and one in 10 people considered them junk food. One in 100, however, bought a pot snack because they wanted "a nutritious meal".

One self-confessed Pot Noodle addict is Helen Nesbitt, a 22-year-old from Fulham, south-west London. She eats a Pot Noodle for her main evening meal at least four times a week - as well as for "a couple of lunches".

"I guess it's a bit of a hangover from my university days, but basically I just really like Pot Noodles," says Ms Nesbitt, a visual effects artist at a film production company.

"I'm always very busy at work, and I don't have much time, so they're just perfect. They're quick and easy, and they only cost about 75p, so it's much cheaper than going to somewhere like Prêt à Manger for a sandwich.

"I tend to buy them in bulk and I keep a stash of them around my desk. My colleagues can't believe how much I love them - they call me 'The Pot Noodle Girl'."

Ms Nesbitt says she isn't worried that some might view her diet as slightly unhealthy.

"I'm too young to worry about whether they're healthy or not," she says. "At weekends I don't tend to have them, especially if I go home, because my mum feeds me properly."

Ms Nesbitt isn't surprised that Pot Noodles are so popular with young women.

"Girls don't want fast food in terms of burgers and greasy stuff," she says. "Pot Noodles are a meal in themselves, they're cheaper and they're a bit more sensible."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible