Before you dig into your instant noodles, remember this important step that comes from caring for cats.

Not surprisingly, the star ingredient of a bowl of instant noodles is the noodles. But that’s not all you get, as any proper pre-packed instant noodle meal will also contain meat and vegetable toppings.

Cup Noodle maker Nissin’s popular line of U.F.O.-brand instant yakisoba, for example, comes with a generous helping of shredded cabbage. However, even though Japan as a society strongly discourages people from wasting food, a staggering 4.17 metric tons (9,193 pounds) of U.F.O. cabbage ends up in the garbage every year, according to the company’s estimates.

Even worse, this waste is occurring by accident. See, like just about all instant noodles, you make U.F.O. yakisoba by opening up the container’s lid, pouring in hot water, closing the lid back up, then waiting for the noodles to cook. Of course, before you eat the noodles you have to peel the lid off, and what a lot of people fail to notice or give much thought to is that…

some of the cabbage ends up sticking to the underside of the lid due to the heat and steam that occurs during cooking, and a ton (4.17 tons, in total) of those veggies end up getting tossed in the trash along with the lid.

Unfortunately, the size of the lid means licking the food off, like you’d do with a pudding or yogurt cup, would be a tongue-tiring task. Alternatively, you could use your chopsticks or fork to pick off all the clinging cabbage, but considering that this is instant noodles we’re talking about here, it goes without saying that the target market is people who don’t really have much time or energy to spare. Thankfully Nissin has an extremely quick, and easy, solution.

Before you peel the lid off and throw it away, give the top of the package two firm taps with your palm. This should shake off any cabbage that’s stuck to the lid, ensuring that the tasty veggies end up in your stomach instead of your trash can or garbage disposal.

▼ Video demonstration

The method is almost exactly the same as the one the recommendation animal welfare groups and automobile manufacturers make to drivers to tap their car’s hood twice before starting the engine on winter mornings, just in case a cat has snuggled up under the vehicle to enjoy the fading warmth from its engine bay. To help people remember, Nissin has even put together a series of video clips showing heads of cabbage doing some of the adorable things Japanese cats do on camera, such as being confused by fusuma sliding doors and relaxing under kotatsu heated tables.

▼ The company has even put together a crossover reminder image, changing “neko ban ban” (“cat knock knock”) to “kyabe ban ban” (“cabbage knock”).

▼ Nissin’s official Twitter account is also asking people to remember to “kyabe ban ban.”

While the awareness campaign is focused on Nissin’s U.F.O. yakisoba, the principal applies to any variety of packaged instant noodles, so don’t forget to give that lid a pair of taps, lest you miss out all the cabbage, mystery meat, or other toppings you’ve got coming to you.

Source, images: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル
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