Cancer Survivor and Founder of Mr Lee’s Noodles

Mr Lee’s Noodles Company is an award winning, 100% tasty, 0% nasty, gourmet, gluten-free noodles in a cup.

Mr Lee Noodles,, crowd ink, crowdink
Mr Lee Noodles

Mr Lee’s Noodles Company is an award winning, 100% tasty, 0% nasty, gourmet, gluten-free noodles in a cup. We currently have a delicious range of six authentic, oriental flavours; Hong Kong Street Beef, Tai Chi Chicken, Penang Chicken Curry Laksa, Warrior Fighting Shrimp, Dragon Fire Mushroom and Shaolin Monk Vegetables. We are very proud of the product we have created, one of the lowest cup noodles in salt, sugar (Sugarwise certified low in added sugar), fats, calories with absolutely no artificial colouring, flavouring or MSG’s – and we push everyday towards our goal of making consumers live and eat better.

The idea came unexpectedly when I was suddenly diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal form of cancer. My world turned upside down! I went raw in my diet and took all the nasties out, and after 18 rounds of chemo and chemo related treatment, I was free, but I found myself asking what next? I realised that I had a love for cup noodle products, but I could no longer eat them due their unhealthy contents. And then I thought, let’s make a healthy cup noodle, but let’s do it in a way that nobody has ever done before.

One of our USPs are freeze-dried ingredients, which lock in most of the nutrients, making us, what we believe, the healthiest cup noodle on the market. Not only is our product unique amongst the market, but we have also developed ‘Noodle Kiosk’ vending machines that are set to revolutionise the food-to-go industry. Our digitally operated vending machines create an engaging, customised experience for tailored audiences, with the capability to be monitored online and give the user fun infomercials, third party commercials and viral videos.

I knew there was a market from the go, as the UK instant cup noodle sector is already growing 6-8% per annum. But sadly it’s a race to the bottom with price wars at the supermarkets what usually leads to lowering the quality of ingredients to keep the production profitable. We fit uniquely within this space as a healthier alternative at a slightly higher price point. Global instant noodle sales are currently over 100 billion units per annum, expecting to hit 120 billion by 2025.

By having a risk reward mentality, I’ve always had an interest is running my own businesses. From Australia and Denmark to Sweden, Singapore, France and Nigeria, I’ve built my companies from the ground up, including a successful financial recruitment head hunting company, an international security company, maritime communications and more. I’m self-defined as ‘unemployable’ as I’ve never really worked for anybody, and Mr Lee’s Noodles is truly the combination of all my life’s experiences, travels and business background coming together.

Damien Lee,, crowd ink, crowdink
Damien Lee

The biggest challenge I have faced post my treatment has been trying to innovate the vending and cup noodle industry. In the West, both consumers and suppliers have poor expectations of vending machines, as they are usually loaded with non-desirable, junk products. Trying to make vending machines modern, efficient and exciting to use is a challenge, and this extends to cup noodles industry..

Our earliest, big breakthrough came in our first month of being an operating business – Compass Group’s ‘The Idea Works’ event in Manchester. Described as “15 minutes, four judges and one big idea”, this prolific process shortlists companies with the biggest potential to pitch to four industry experts on the Compass Group panel, in order to secure a national and international listing on their real estate. This process has led to a range of future successes, and we are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to secure such an early listing with the market leaders.

The biggest advice I’d give to budding entrepreneurs is to never be afraid of trying something new and to fail trying. The strength is to get back up each time and trying again until you succeed. Your true strength is your mind and how you apply it. So go out, live it and use it!

More info about the product can be found here