AMS Spring 2023

The R&D Tax Aspects of Ramen Noodles and 3D Printing

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Cups of noodles are one of the most popular food items among children and college students. From a quick meal in between play dates to some extra fuel on those long nights of endless studying, noodles have proven to be a fast, cost efficient, and effortless meal. Among popular brands are Maruchan’s Ramen Noodles and Instant Lunch as well as Nissin’s Top Ramen and Cup Noodles. Innovations for ramen noodles have come underway, allowing the easy meal to become even more effortless with the help of 3D printed accessories.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit of up to 13 percent of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • New or improved products, processes, or software
  • Technological in nature
  • Elimination of uncertainty
  • Process of experimentation

Eligible costs include employee wages, cost of supplies, cost of testing, contract research expenses, and costs associated with developing a patent. On December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the bill making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax and startup businesses can utilize the credit against $250,000 per year in payroll taxes.

CAD Accessories

[Image: sparramore via Thingiverse]

On websites such as Thingiverse and Shapeways where users can upload and share CAD drawings, hundreds of designs for ramen noodles can be found. One design includes a ramen cup lid. This is helpful because the amount served in large cups is often too much for one serving, especially for children. A 3D printed lid allows you to reseal the cup and save it for later. A similar design is a cup noodle lid holder in the shape of a skateboard that holds the actual ramen noodle paper lid down while the noodles are cooking, either in the microwave or with pre-boiled water. It also works to keep the heat inside the cup. Another design is a lid that comes with a spot to place your spoon called the Spooner.

NoodVamp

[Image: NoodVamp]

If you have eaten ramen noodles, then you have experienced the frustration of choosing between the noodles or the soup. It is impossible to have both at once since the noodles slip off the spoon and a fork cannot hold the soup. Unilever’s Pot Noodle company hosts its You Can Make It campaign each year where people can submit innovations and inventions. One submission from 2015 was the NoodVamp, a detachable silicon spoon cover that makes it easier to eat noodles with a spoon. It fits around a standard teaspoon and, with soft rubbery teeth around the edges, acts as a noodle catcher to allow the perfect combination of noodle and soup in one spoonful. The inventors of the spoon used 3D printing for prototyping in order to receive funding for the project. Instead of creating an entire new spoon, NoodVamp reduces its impact on the environment by being a detachable device that can fit spoons that are already in your kitchen.

Noodle Printers

[Image: Foodini]

The idea of printing food in your own kitchen has been around for a while but never really come to fruition. Only recently have 3D printers for food entered the production market. Natural Machines’ Foodini is described to be a new generation kitchen appliance that combines technology, food, art, and design. Though it is still not available for consumer purchase, the Foodini website showcases many photos of foods that have been 3D printed, including noodles.

 


Charles Goulding and Rafaella July of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printing and ramen noodles

 

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