Nissin Food Products Co.'s creative design team has given consumers something to "pore" over with a new dam image drainage feature for its "U.F.O." instant yakisoba noodles.
Officially called the "Nissin Yakisoba U.F.O. Dam Draining System," the new product -- which is essentially a flat sieve covered with the image of a dam -- is placed on top of the firm's mainstay U.F.O. yakisoba bowl to pour away unwanted hot water in a fun and effective manner.
Nissin Food officially started selling the sieve product on Jan. 29, but the road to finalizing the device took about two years.
In 2016, the company's workers put their heads together to come up with exciting ways to pour away unwanted hot water, which is needed initially to soften the yakisoba but not required when it comes to eating the noodles.
As a public relations representative from the firm explains, "With instant yakisoba noodles, it is impossible to avoid pouring away the hot water -- a task that many people regard negatively. We thought that if we could make this more fun, then the yakisoba in a container would really start to take off."
Around April 2017, it was decided to create a device that both looked and acted like a dam.
Initially, there was uncertainty about which dam should be photographed and put onto the product. Fortunately for Nissin Food, the project began to gain speed when the firm hired the services of dam enthusiast Saki Miyajima, who has written a book on dams (called "Dam Mania") and visited approximately 600 dams, mainly in the Kanto region.
After consulting with Miyajima, the team managed to narrow the potential list down to three dams out of approximately 2,700 across Japan -- namely, Gassan Dam in Yamagata Prefecture, Tomata Dam in Okayama Prefecture, and Koshibu Dam in Nagano Prefecture. Nissin Food then received images of the three dams from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the company decided to use all three images for different versions of its U.F.O. yakisoba.
The product sold out on Jan. 30. However, the firm is planning to sell it again from Feb. 21 via its website (domestic purchases only).