Pot Noodles: Are They Vegan in the U.K

Pot Noodles are a home brand in the UK and a nationally-known name. They are convenient and easy to make with just a kettle, a standard appliance in British homes.

When it comes to moving into a vegan diet, convenience is one of the hardest things to accommodate. It can be vital to create convenient eating options for yourself as a new vegan to create and maintain positive habits that move away from eating meat, whether for health reasons, ethical reasons, or religious ones.

In moderation, vegans can use even processed food like instant noodles to help facilitate this healthy change. Meats are ever more processed and carry increased risks for many diseases.

The World Health Organisation cites that overeating processed red meat each day is a known carcinogenic component to one’s lifestyle.

Pot Noodles may be a part of this movement into a vegan diet or just something to keep you going during work and when you do not have time to cook. You may also be shopping for a vegan and supporting their lifestyle.

So are Pot Noodles vegan? Are there vegan varieties and flavours of Pot Noodle?

Read more to understand what to look for and which flavours to avoid.

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Do Pot Noodles contain meat?

The standard flavours of Pot Noodles contain no meat at all. Some offshoot flavours contain meat and should be avoided, such as Lost the Pot Noodles.

You should examine the ingredient list of any product you are looking to consume or buy to check for meat products and animal byproducts if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Are Pot Noodles all vegan?

As these main flavours do not contain meat, these are all vegetarian-friendly, but this does not mean they are vegan-friendly. Vegan lifestyles and diets include not just avoiding the direct flesh and tissue of animals in the form of meat, bone marrow and oils derived from animal tissue: they also include avoiding animal byproducts.

Animal byproducts include products like honey, cow’s milk, dairy products derived from animal milk, and beeswax and other animal byproducts.

Although these products do not involve the immediate and direct slaughter and consumption of the animal or creature, they do mandate disrupting these animals’ natural lives and habitats. Ethical vegans may take issue with this component regarding cruelty and human interference.

Environmentally conscious vegans may also consider the impact of widespread animal cultivation on the environment. The harvesting of honey to replace with sugar water, for instance, may be a cause of the current global crisis with bee colony collapse disorder.

Widespread animal rearing and slaughter also involve a great deal of agriculture to feed animals, involving deforestation and the release of greenhouse gases.

Some vegans follow the diet for health reasons and are just looking to avoid animal products containing pesticides or hormones. Read more to understand which are vegan and how vegans approach this issue.

Why are Pot Noodles not marked as vegan?

cooked noodles

Some flavours of Pot Noodle do contain no animal products or byproducts whatsoever, but they do not feature a certified Vegan label on their packaging. Labels are avoided to avoid liability on behalf of the company, as they cannot guarantee no contact with animal products or byproducts.

This is due to products being manufactured in a factory that contacts other products. In the case of Pot Noodles, some other Pot Noodles in the vicinity likely prevent an assurance of no cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is a concern for some vegans, but a large portion of vegans for whom animal products are not an allergenic concern accept the possibility of cross-contamination. This is because there is a much slimmer market of products guaranteed to have zero contamination.

However, this is an individual choice for every vegan. Suppose the vegan in question has allergenic concerns with animal products that are potentially life-threatening.

In that case, they should strongly consider avoiding all foods that feature a “May contain” label on those products.

All Pot Noodles, with otherwise vegan ingredient lists or not, feature a label that says, “May Contain: Celery, Eggs, Milk, Mustard”. If these ingredients are a risk to the safety of anybody considering them, it is best to avoid the products altogether.

Although the risk is low, allergic reactions do happen.

Is the palm oil in Pot Noodles vegan?

palm trees

All palm oil, often written as palm fat, is technically vegan. However, environmentally-aware or ethically-conscious vegans may avoid these products on this basis alone.

Palm oil also encourages deforestation, with tens of thousands of acres of natural rainforests cut down each year, destroying the ancestral homelands of indigenous groups, displacing peoples, destroying animal habitats, and releasing carbon dioxide from destroyed trees.

In the case of carbon dioxide, it rises into the atmosphere and disrupts the Earth’s natural atmosphere, causing global heating.

Additionally, palm oil production is highly destructive to highly biodiverse environments on the equator. Palm oil plantations centre around this area, and these areas also contain a highly centralised area of biodiversity due to the specific climate on the equator.

Many animals there are evolved to exist precisely in that environment, and the destruction of their habitats causes irreparable damage to habitats that cannot be replaced. Orangutans, in particular, are threatened by this development, with food sources dwindling and populations dying rapidly.

There have also been recorded cases of slavery, including child slavery, in these plantations.

Many vegans have ethical concerns when they turn to their vegan diets, though some are solely interested for health reasons. Because of the ethical implications of palm oil, many vegans do not consume it at all.

It is, however, a personal and individual choice.

Do Pot Noodles use sustainable palm oil?

Yes. Pot Noodle is owned by Unilever, a company that has previously contributed massively to deforestation due to palm plantations and sourced almost all of its palm oil from sustainable sources in 2019.

They are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, also known as the RSPO.

Environmentally concerned vegans should investigate all palm oil individually if they are worried about its sourcing. Sustainably sourced palm oil often involves operating on already-established plantations instead of cutting them back and doing actual work to restore previous habitats.

However, the RSPO does ensure that members are held to a greater standard concerning the conditions of workers and that they should not be forced to work in inhumane and dangerous conditions. It also holds its members to a standard that states any expansions of plantations should not endanger or interfere with endangered animals and their habitats.

It does not prevent existing plantations from existing and does not insist that members cut back usage of these plantations. Still, Unilever’s membership does decrease the likelihood they are engaging with child labour and modern slavery.

Is the Beef & Tomato Pot Noodle vegan?

Provided you are comfortable with the possibility of cross-contamination, Pot Noodle’s Beef & Tomato flavour is vegan. There is no meat in this product, and the noodles are not made with egg, but with wheat, meaning the Beef & Tomato Pot Noodle is vegan.

As a consequence of this, these are also suitable for vegetarians.

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Is the BBQ Pulled Pork Pot Noodle vegan?

Despite the supposed meat flavour, yes. BBQ Pulled Pork Pot Noodles do not contain any trace of milk, animal products, or meat at all, meaning they are suitable for vegans.

They are suitable for vegetarians as well.

Is the Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle vegan?

This flavour is notably spicy and is also vegan and vegetarian-friendly. They are made solely with flavourings, added vegetables, and vegan seasoning with wheat noodles.

This is not a vegan-labelled Pot Noodles, meaning that there is still a small risk of cross-contamination with animal products or byproducts.

Is the Jerk Chicken Pot Noodle vegan?

Yes. Despite the meat flavour label, the Pot Noodle brand achieves this with other flavourings and seasonings besides meat and meat derivatives.

Thus these are vegan, as well as vegetarian. This is not one of the vegan-labelled Pot Noodles, of which there are two, meaning that there is still a small risk of cross-contamination with animal products or byproducts when consuming this flavour.

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Is the Piri Piri Chicken Pot Noodle vegan?

Yes. The Piri Piri Chicken flavour is also one of the few two flavours to list their vegan status on the box, meaning that this flavour is most likely not subject to any cross-contamination due to where and how it is produced.

Those with allergenic risks may consume this flavour safely, but if you are at risk and in doubt, consider contacting the consumer line and asking yourself.

They may be able to give you a more detailed idea of what the chances are, and whether they are explicitly known by Pot Noodle or not so you can make an informed decision.

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Is the Chinese Chow Mein Pot Noodle vegan?

Yes. This is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians but is not an explicitly vegan-labelled flavour.

Those concerned about cross contaminants should take care and read the packaging to make an informed decision.

Is the Sticky Rib Pot Noodle vegan?

This is another flavour that achieves a typically meaty flavour using vegan flavourings. This is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly Pot Noodle, though it is still produced in a factory with other potential contaminants and should not be ruled out for concern for some people.

Is the Sweet & Sour Pot Noodle vegan?

It is. This flavour is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, though consumers should examine it for cross contaminants in the case of sensitive individuals.

Is the Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle vegan?

This flavour is unfortunately not vegan. However, this flavour is still unusually vegetarian.

Though the Pot Noodle itself contains milk, excluding it from vegans, the meat-like chunks in the container are soya chunks, meaning there is no meat in the dish at all.

Are the Curry Pot Noodles vegan?

Many Curry Pot Noodles are not vegan, but not all of them. The Pot Noodles that are not vegan range from the Thai Green Curry Pot Noodle, though the Pot Noodle Fusion version of Thai Green Curry is vegan, to the Original Curry Pot Noodle and the Chicken Korma Pot Noodle.

Additionally, the Asian Street Style Thai Red Curry is neither vegan nor the Lost the Pot Noodle Curry flavour.

The only flavours of Curry Pot Noodles that vegans can eat are Pot Noodle Fusions (only Fusions) Thai Green Curry and the Pot Noodle Fusions Katsu Curry flavour.

However, the Thai Red Curry flavour is vegetarian, and both versions of the Thai Green Curry Pot Noodle are vegetarian-friendly.

Are the Lost the Pot Noodles vegan?

Surprisingly not. The Lost the Pot Noodle flavours include either direct animal products or traces of crustaceans, making them unsuitable for both vegans and vegetarians.

This includes the Lost The Pot Noodle flavour Cheese & Tomato, Lost The Pot Noodle Vegetable, Lost The Pot Noodle Curry, Lost The Pot Noodle Sweet Chilli, and Lost The Pot Noodle Roast Chicken.

If you see a new flavour in this line you are curious to try and follow a vegan diet, scrutinise the packaging to see whether they contain any animal products. This can be in the form of flavourings as well.

Are the Asian Street Style Pot Noodles vegan?

instant noodles in a container

One flavour in the Asian Street Style Pot Noodles range is safe for both vegans and vegetarians, which is Asian Street Style Japanese Miso Noodle Soup. The flavours Asian Street Style Malaysian Laksa and Asian Street Style Thai Red Curry are safe for only vegetarians.

The flavour Asian Street Style Vietnamese Beef Pho is suitable for neither vegetarians nor vegans as it contains beef.

The Asian Street Style Japanese Miso Noodle Soup flavour is the other Pot Noodle explicitly labelled as a vegan certified food, so it may be safe for those worried about cross contaminants. Always check the label.

Are the Pot Noodle Fusions vegan?

Yes, they are all vegan and vegetarian friendly. As of writing, this includes the flavours Pot Noodle Fusions Katsu Curry, Pot Noodle Fusions Chilli Chicken, and Pot Noodle Fusions Thai Green Curry.

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