The Magic of Brand Maggi

File:New Maggi Logo.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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Maggi, a 2 minute instant noodles, being very popular among all generations, is India’s favorite instant snack since it was introduced in the 1980s. From children to millennials, everybody drools over Maggi even after it was banned in India.


But Why Was Maggi Banned?

Although the bright yellow packet assured that it contains no monosodium glutamate (MSG), the opposite was discovered in May 2015 after food safety regulators from Barabanki, India reported that samples of Maggi Noodles had high levels of MSG. 

However, MSG naturally occurs in onion powder and wheat flour which is why Maggi offered to remove the words "No added MSG" from the package to overcome the public objections. 

Another reason that led to nation-wide Maggi ban was the results which showed up to 17 times the allowed limit of lead in it. Lead is contained in the tastemaker part of Maggi. Out of the 13 samples tested by Delhi authorities, 10 of them had shown lead content of the limit of 17.2 ppm, whereas, the allowed limit is 2.5 ppm.

Consequences Faced by the Brand - 

This led to nation-wide market withdrawals and investigations in India and outside. Many of India's biggest sellers (including BigBazaar and Easyday) imposed a ban on Maggi. Maggi noodles were then withdrawn from the market of many nations such as Nepal endlessly banning Maggi over concerns about the lead amounts in it.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India eventually ordered a nationwide recollection of all Maggi products, stating them, to be “unsafe and hazardous for human consumption.” Nestlé also acted similarly by voluntarily withdrawing the noodles, insisting that they were safe but mentioning “an environment of confusion for the consumers.”

Before the ban, Maggi had a 63 percent share of India’s Rs 5,000 crore noodle market. But after the results, it lost 80% of its market. It lost more than Rs 500 crore (US$77 million) over the ban. Eventually, 38,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles were picked from the retail stores, and destroyed by first, crushing the noodles and then, mixing them with fuel for burning in boilers at 11 cement plants across the whole country. 

Nestlé had to pay a fine of Rs. 640 crores (Rs. 6.4 Billion) imposed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for the presence of MSG and lead beyond the permissible limit. 

When Maggi was banned, all the competitors began to take this opportunity for the better and along with that, many new noodle brands emerged in the market including Patanjali atta noodles. Some of the brands that became a little famous in those few months were Sunfeast Yippee, Patanjali, Top Ramen, and Knorr among many others.


Company Response -

Since Maggi always insisted that their noodle product is safe, Nestlé had many times questioned the reliability and the trustworthiness of the labs that were used for testing. In the later Bombay High Court ruling, the court agreed that the test conducted by earlier labs cannot be trusted and hence the results. 

When results from test labs outside of India reported that the noodles were safe, the court also approved it. In August 2015, the Bombay High Court overturned the government’s ban.  

 

Return to the Market –

In India, Maggi products were returned to the shops and homes in November 2015, supported by a Nestlé advertising campaign to win back the trust of the Indian community. After various tests and investigations, Maggi was relaunched into the market. 

Even though Maggi was banned for over 3 months with very serious allegations, it did not seem to harm the overall reputation of the concerned noodles. People in India readily bought Maggi soon after its comeback in September. 

Despite media madness, customer loyalty to Maggi did not decrease. Maggi still holds a majority share of India’s noodle market and Nestlé has seen quite a healthy recovery at the Bombay Stock Exchange since the ban was lifted in September 2015.

Maggi opted for a very effective and tempting marketing strategy after its comeback in September. It showed advertisements of different types of Maggi that people could make including – veggie, soupy, cheesy, and many more. Are you drooling? Me too. 

The aforementioned noodle brands’ popularity only lasted for the span while Maggi was banned. This showed brand royalty and people’s loyalty. Maggi was, is, and always will be the preferred noodles for the people of India.

 

Written by - Ritika Singh

Edited by - Bushra Makhdoomi

 


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