Vegans and vegetarians are sometimes surprised to learn that ‘chicken’ or ‘beef’ flavour noodles don’t actually contain meat and are, in fact, accidentally vegan. So, are Batchelors Super Noodles vegan or vegetarian?
The answer is far from straightforward, but some Super Noodles are vegan-friendly, some are suitable for vegetarians and there are others that you should avoid. If you’d rather not eat animals, read on to find out which Super Noodle flavours are for you…
Are Super Noodles vegan?
Super Noodles are not officially not certified as vegan. However, the Mild Curry, Peri Peri Chicken and Chow Mein flavours do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Therefore, these three flavours of Super Noodles would be acceptable to most vegans.
In 2019, packets of Batchelors Super Noodles were reduced in size from 100g to 90g. At the same time, the recipe for Peri Peri Super Noodles was asjusted to remove the milk. 90g packets of Peri Peri Super Noodles are vegan, but any old 100g packets will contain milk.
The reasons why Super Noodles are not marked as vegan is because that would require the manufacturer, Premier Foods, to take extra steps to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination between vegan and non-vegan products.
Most vegans accept that it’s standard for food factories produce vegan and non-vegan items. Whether you choose to eat food that has not been prepared in a dedicated vegan environment is your decision.
Read more: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?
Super Noodles contain palm oil. Some vegans choose to avoid unsustainable palm oil due to links with deforestation. However, the palm oil used by Premier Foods is sustainable sourced, so this wouldn’t case an issue.
Are Super Noodles vegetarian?
Some flavours of Super Noodles are suitable for vegetarians. However, vegetarians should avoid the chicken flavour as well as all of the Super Noodle Pots, Big Super Noodles and Low Fat Super Noodles. These may contain animal-derived flavourings and potentially traces of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
I emailed Premier Foods who make Super Noodles to ask if Super Noodles were suitable for vegetarians or vegans and this was their reply:
We can advise that the following Batchelors products are suitable for a vegetarian diet:
- Batchelors Super Noodles BBQ Beef Flavour 90g
- Batchelors Super Noodles Curry Flavour 90g
- Batchelors Super Noodles Bacon Flavour 90g
- Batchelors Super Noodles Chow Mein Flavour 90g
- Batchelors Super Noodles Peri Peri Chicken Flavour 90g
Which Super Noodles are vegan and which are vegetarian?
The following table shows which Super Noodles and vegan and which are vegetarian:
|Super Noodles||Vegan?||Vegetarian?||Why not?|
|Chicken Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring|
|BBQ Beef Super Noodles||No||YES||Milk|
|Mild Curry Super Noodles||YES||YES|
|Southern Fried Chicken Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, milk|
|Bacon Super Noodles||No||YES||Milk|
|Chow Mein Super Noodles||YES||YES|
|Peri Peri Chicken Super Noodles||YES||YES|
|Big Chicken Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
|Big BBQ Beef Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, milk, cross-contamination|
|Low Fat Chicken & Herb Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
|Chilli Chicken Low Fat Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
|Curry Low Fat Super Noodles||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
|Chicken Super Noodle Pots||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
|BBQ Beef Super Noodle Pots||No||No||Flavouring, milk, cross-contamination|
|Curry Super Noodle Pots||No||No||Flavouring, cross-contamination|
Are chicken Super Noodles vegetarian?
Whilst most Batchelors Super Noodles are marked as vegetarian, the chicken flavour ones are not.
Inspection of the ingredients list doesn’t show any obvious meat or dairy ingredients. The only thing in these ingredients which could include animal products is ‘flavouring’.
Chicken Super Noodles Ingredients:
Noodles (Water, Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Palm Oil, Antioxidants (Butylated Hydroxyanisole, Citric Acid, Propyl Gallate)), Glucose Syrup, Salt, Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium 5′-Ribonucleotides), Flavouring, Onion, Garlic, Potassium Chloride, Yeast Extract, Maltodextrin, Ground Turmeric, Acid (Malic Acid), Parsley, Black Pepper Extract
Batchelors chicken flavour Super Noodles and Southern Fried Chicken Super Noodles are not suitable for vegetarians because they contain ‘flavouring’ which is derived from chickens. However, Zingy Peri Peri Chicken Super Noodles are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
What is flavouring?
When you see ‘flavouring’ on an ingredients, it can mean anything. Sometimes flavourings are natural, like lemon zest, other times they are artificial and made from chemicals like petroleum. Some natural flavourings are made from meat and meat by-products.
In the case of chicken Super Noodles, the label used to include ‘chicken fat’. It no longer does, but we can assume that the ‘flavouring’ is still chicken fat.
This use of the word ‘flavouring’ in place of ‘chicken fat’ could cause some vegetarians and vegans to read the ingredients list and assume at that chicken flavour Super Noodles are suitable for their diet, when in fact, they contain chicken. So be careful!
Why are Low Fat Super Noodles and Super Noodle Pots not vegetarian?
If we look at the example of Curry Flavour Super Noodles, those are vegan, but the Low Fat Curry Super Noodles and the Curry Super Noodle Pots are not vegan, or even vegetarian. Why is that?
Aside from the possible issue of ‘flavourings’ and having no way of knowing what they are made of, another issue with the low-fat versions and the pots could be cross-contamination.
Each of these products carries an allergy warning that says: “May also contain Celery, Crustaceans, Fish, Molluscs, Mustard, Sesame and Soy.”
It could be the case that the cross-contamination with fish and shellfish is to such an extent that these varieties of Super Noodles cannot be considered to be suitable for vegetarians.
So, whilst Super Noodles are not labelled as vegan, there are three flavours which may be considered as vegan-friendly – Chow Mein, Peri Peri and Mild Curry.
Five varieties of Super Noodles are labelled as vegetarian, whilst the others may contain flavourings which are made from animals or may be contaminated with fish or shellfish.
Studying the ingredients list of a packet of Super Noodles highlights just how many ingredients are in there that have chemical names. For a more natural noodle, you might wish to buy some plain wholewheat noodles like these ones from MAMA that are made from just rice and water. You can then add your own flavourings, herbs and spices.