Does Manipal miss Maggi?3 min read
On June 6 2015, the Indian government banned the popular instant noodle brand Maggi indefinitely. A dominant force in the Indian market for decades, Maggi stumbled for the first time.
For those of you who haven’t heard, here’s the story sans drama: when an officer in Uttar Pradesh ordered tests to be done on samples of Maggi, the company was destined for a tumult. Dangerously high levels of lead and monosodium glutamate were found, a complaint was filed against Nestle, and Maggi was struck down by the central food safety regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The Indian consumer has yet to recover from this incident – something the country has been consuming like starved cavemen for the past decades was pulled off store shelves. Do you think we deserve this slap, as mostly ignorant consumers? The Indian consumer has hopefully, learned a lesson and surfaced as a more responsible consumer. Everyone has straightened their tie – other food giants round the world have started testing their products and replacing suspicious ingredients. The state has become more conscious too. In fact, in some cases, too much so; Assam banned Wai Wai, another instant noodles brand, for a month post the Maggi drama.
All that’s left of the legendary instant noodle brand right now are internet puns and bad Whatsapp jokes. It’s been quite a while since the ban. What do Maggi addicts survive on? What do young girls have to say rather than to “remove cooking as their hobby on matrimonial sites”? Do we truly need Maggi?
A lot of India’s youth think they do, including the student population of Manipal. A survey conducted showed only 13.3% of respondents were completely dependent on Maggi for their instant noodles needs, all under twenty-five, mostly females. 40% of respondents said they do not need Maggi at all, and the rest (46.7%) responded that they can survive without Maggi even while admitting they consumed Maggi frequently. People above the age of twenty-one either preferred other brands like Wai Wai and Koka or didn’t use instant noodles at all.
Perhaps Maggi is simply a phase. Is it possible that India, the biggest consumer of Maggi worldwide, might possibly not need Maggi? Maybe Maggi had been so overrated that it was shoving other better, healthier brands out of sight.
Nestle is toiling to get Maggi back up. They released a series of short films titled “Menu Cards, Moms and Neighbours” that talk about how much Maggi is missed. They have marketed their campaign very well; they have support from kids and teens throughout the country. Maggi had been gagged from running ads when their ambassadors had been served notices for making false claims in their previous ads. Nestle does not surrender though. They fight everyday for India’s “favourite” instant noodle to be brought back.
A couple of days ago, Gujarat and Karnataka became the first two states to lift the ban on Maggi with more state governments expected to follow suit. Soon, we might have Maggi back in shops nearby but the setback suffered this year is already affecting their dominance of the instant-noodle market.
Divya Kilikar is a reporter at The Manipal Journal and a student of School of Communication.
The views expressed in the blog are personal.