In the name of hard-hitting consumer research, GearWeAre.com recently organised a blind taste-test of that pinnacle of British Quisine, the ‘noodles in a pot’.
We love our noodles because they’re a real multi-tool of the Festival camping experience. You get a “meal”, and then a handy pot in which you can make tea, store things or have a wee when it’s late and you’re too far from the toilets. Genius.
We tried to level the playing field by purchasing the same flavour – Chicken and Mushroom – in three different brands of noodle; Pot Noodle, Golden Wonder and Tesco Value.
Andy prepared each set of noodles according to the instructions, using spring water cooked on a campstove, and turfed the contents into three anonymous looking cups. The cups were then passed around three people (and Andy himself, since he was hungry) for their impressions.
It should be noted that all three pots of noodles have similar calorie, salt and sugar contents, so flavour and experience is really the only difference.
Here’s how they did:
Tesco Value Chicken and Mushroom Flavour Noodle Quick Snack
At 21p per portion, this is by far the cheapest noodle in the test, and whilst we weren’t expecting to be blown-away by the taste sensation from something that costs less that the gas used to cook it, we were utterly disappointed by the Tesco Value experience. Firstly, the noodles were way too wet. At 70g of noodles per pot, there just isn’t enough to soak up all the water you add, so you end up with a sort of noodle broth. And taste wise, we all agreed that it was overpoweringly mushroomy, without a hint of chicken or anything else.
OK, so you can purchase five of these bad boys for the price of one Pot Noodle, but unless you’re living on the tightest of budgets your saving will lead to sadness.
Golden Wonder The Nation’s Noodle
We had high hopes for the Golden Wonder noodles. It was Royal Wedding weekend and they had a flag on the pot, so it felt patriotic to be eating them in a field, under a glorious spring sunshine.
First impressions were good. They absorbed much more of the water and were a nice firm noodley texture, rather than a dusty mush. The flavour was definitely more chicken-like than mushroomy, which is a good thing, but they had an oddly dusty sensation to them which left a sort of film in the mouth. We all agreed that they filled a hole, but we didn’t derive much pleasure from ingesting them.
They’re priced very similarly to the Pot Noodle at 98p, but you get more for your money (92g, as opposed to 90g of Pot Noodle). We couldn’t tell where this extra weight came from, but we suspected that GW contained more noodles than PN, and less peas & sweetcorn.
However, when the taste test ended, someone did scoff the lot pretty quickly.
As the market leader, our naturally cynical sides were pitted against the Pot Noodle from the start. However, every single one of us could tell, even in the blind taste test, which was the Pot Noodle. Perhaps it has one of those flavours that is so familiar that it forms part of your unconscious…
The Pot Noodle contained more things identifiable as non-noodles – peas, sweetcorn and chicken! – which made it feel more like a nourishing meal. Similarly to the Tesco Value pot, the Pot Noodle was far too wet and dribbled down our chins, which was annoying, but it did serve to dilute the amazingly artificial taste of the bright yellow flavouring. The overall effect wasn’t unpleasant, and much more of a taste experience than the other two noodles on test.
We unanimously agreed that the Pot Noodle was the best in test, but we’d like to see it prescribed a little less water. Is it worth 5x the Tesco Value noodles? Yes, we thought so.
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