Mr Pot Noodle dies, aged 96

Japanese invented instant snack to combat food shortages after the Second World War

You've probably once fancied a "Bombay Bad Boy". Or maybe the "Edwina Curry". You may even have gobbled down the one featuring "Big Dave". So many Britons are said to be fans of the Pot Noodle that few this weekend will not mourn the passing of Momofuku Ando, inventor of the instant noodle snack, who died of a heart attack on Friday aged 96.

Mr Ando was born in Taiwan in 1910, when it was still under colonial rule, and moved to Japan in 1933. He first came up with the idea for the instant noodle snack in the face of the huge food shortages after the Second World War. After several years' development, the Chicken Ramen was launched in 1958.

Its success led Nissin Food Products - which Mr Ando founded in 1948 - to introduce further items, including the Cup Noodle in 1971. The polystyrene cup contained a slab of pre-cooked noodles and merely required the consumer to add hot water and a flavour packet.

Mr Ando only relinquished the co-chairmanship of his company at the age of 95, last June.

But it was another Japanese company, Golden Wonder, that took his invention and developed the Pot Noodle brand, which was launched in the UK in 1979.

Unilever, which now owns the Pot Noodle, produces 175 million pots each year in its factory in Crumlin, south Wales. The company estimates that 300 of the hot snacks, containing noodles, textured soya pieces and vegetables, are eaten in the UK every minute. Unilever says that four Pot Noodles are sold every second and make up 95 per cent of the UK's £105m hot-snack market.

Notorious as a student staple, Pot Noodle has become famous for its saucy advertising campaigns and suggestively named flavours. These have included the "Natural Noodling" campaign and the "Pot Noodle Horn". In 2002, the brand launched an "Edwina Curry" flavour after revelations about the former Tory MP's affair with John Major.

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