Noodles in India: The Maggi Scare

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Consumer concerns in India are already being addressed over the noodles brand, but can a scare really scare people off Maggi?

Nestlé is a prime food maker in the world and their presence in the Indian market for basic snacks, such as noodles, helps the country to expand it’s horizons in the easy meals department. However, recently a scare there over the controversy that their products contain high levels of lead, which can pose as a serious and dangerous health risk, means that more than just consumption confidence has been damaged.

Following the allegations, the noodles went through numerous further tests and it was revealed that the snack was in fact safe to eat. This food test was carried out on over 1000 packs of Maggi’s 2-Minute Noodles, by internal examiners, but another separate test was also conducted independently, which received positive results, as well.

Maggi noodles became an after-school meal for numerous school children across India, during the ‘80s. Enjoyed by mostly the middle-class, somewhere around a fifth of the revenue of

Nestlé

India is accrued from the sell of noodles. Although, this fact has been cast in doubt over the recent controversies as shelves of the noodles have been cleared to quench food fears, there is no denying the importance of the food product in India.

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Colleges, in and around, India carry stalls stocked with Maggi noodles, and even roadside vendors, shops in rural areas, can be seen peddling around with this ubiquitous snack. This decline in consumer trust comes at a time when there has been a global shift towards preference over healthier and fresh food choices.

This trend is a stark contrast to the growing culture of relying on fast food that had sprung up in India in the ’80s. Maggi’s noodles could be cooked in just two-minutes and many in the population there found that idea both fascinating and simplistic. Maggi actually has it’s roots in

Nestlé, since 1947, when India became independent from the British Raj.

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At the time, Maggi was a separate entity but it was bought in by

Nestlé

at home first, before proceeding to set up a local branch of the company in Punjab in 1961.

Nestlé

played an important role in growing the milk economy of the state of Punjab, in co-operation with politicians, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a firm believer in the policy choice.

Maggi was grown across India, with this policy in mind and for the first few years it dominated the instant noodles market before Nissin’s Top Ramen noodles hit the shelves in the ’90s, at which point the company began to lose out it’s revenues to it’s formidable rival. But no matter how you look at it, the Maggi noodles brand from Nestlé seems set on retaining it’s crown as “the favourite noodles of India”, irrespective of controversies – that is a welcoming thought, to think about for one of the most trusted food brands in India.

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