You are on page 1of 15

Nestl Maggi Noodles is one of the most iconic snack items in India.

Launched in 1983, then,

when not many Indians were aware about what noodles as the food stuff is. This writing tries to
cover the journey of Maggi noodles from its launch to becoming a major snack item in Indian
households consumed by 3 generations. This paper focuses on various marketing strategies
implemented during its launch, growth, post crisis & Current phase as well tries to cover
current diversification process happening with Nestl as a brand and Nestl Maggi as a brand.

History of Maggi Noodles

The Nestl Maggi

The company originated in Switzerland in 1884, when Julius Maggi took over his father's mill.
He quickly became a pioneer of industrial food production, aiming to improve the nutritional
intake of worker families. Maggi was the first to bring protein-rich legume meals to the market,
and followed up with a ready-made soup based on legume meals in 1886. After that Julius
Maggi introduced bouillon concentrates, first in capsules, then into cubes. In 1897, Julius Maggi
founded the company Maggi GmbH in Singen, Germany.
In 1947, following several changes in ownership and corporate structure, Maggi's holding
company merged with the Nestl company to form Nestl-Alimentana S.A.. Currently, it is
known as Nestl S.A. in its francophone home base.
Maggi Noodles in India

The mouth-watering Maggi noodles were launched in India in early 1983 by Nestl under the
tag of: Nestl Maggi Noodles. Carlo M. Donati, the Managing Director of Nestl India brought
the product in India. There was no direct competition in instant noodle category then. The
nearest competition was from ready to eat snacks such as Samosa, Kachori, Biscuits, and
Peanuts. Another competition was from homemade snacks such as Pakodas, or Sandwiches.
The outside food category had a peculiar problem of being unhygienic and unhealthy. But the
problem was quickly overcome by the homemade snacks. The homemade snacks had a
disadvantage of taking longer duration to cook and extended preparation times. Thus it was
easy for Maggi to take the position of quickly prepared homemade snack.

Initially, Maggi noodles were focused as only homemade hygienic homemade snack. But, the
positioning miserably failed because targeting at wrong segment. Initially Nestl had positioned
Maggi as a convenience food product aimed at targeting the working women who hardly found
any time in cooking. But this campaign could not hold for too long. It was found in surveys that
the children were the major consumers of Maggi Noodles.

Positioning Maggi Noodles as - 2 Minutes Noodles

Maggi was positioned as 2 minutes noodles with a punch line stated: Fast to cook! Good to
eat! This gave an inherited message to consumers that Maggi is a between meals snack item.
The company could have easily tried to position the product as meal item, either lunch or
dinner. But, they had a clear of understanding of Indian consumers mindset that, meal for

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 1

them is chapati, roti, rice, etc. and hence, any effort to position Maggi in this segment would
have turned to be futile.

Another aspect of Indian consumers is, mothers generally prefer to cook meal rather than
buying food for their children. And hence, the company didnt position Maggi as a ready to eat
meal. Rather their position was a bit clear; mother can cook Maggi in 2 minutes and with very
less efforts. Also the kids loved the taste of Maggi making it successful. Thus, 2 minutes noodle
with yummy taste worked in the case of Maggi. (Exhibit 1)

Growth Years: From Tasty food to Healthy Food

Maggi was launched in 5 flavors initially Masala, Chicken, Capsicum, Sweet & Sour, and
Lasagna Maggi. The packaged food market was very less then. Hence, Nestl devised a two
pronged strategy to attract mothers on convenience plank and children on fun plank.
Gradually the market grew. Company also focused on various promotional activities such as
offering toys or gifts in return for empty noodles pack.

Maggi launched the two-minute noodles advertisement campaign on Doordarshan (state-run

television) which turned out to be an instant attraction because of its liberating message for
women. The Maggi Mom was not only seen as loving and caring of her children but was also
able to tackle her workplace and domestic responsibilities.

The taglines like Mummy Bhook Lagi, Bas 2 Minute created a personal connect between the
brand and the consumers. Post which Nestl revamped its marketing strategy to keep the
Maggi brand fresh in the minds of Indian consumer and reposition Maggi as a health product.
The brand has over the year changed its positioning as well from a 2 minute noodles, now
they talk about health for the health conscious. No brand can ignore the power of consumers,
Consumer is the King and the memory of the consumers is short lived. Unless the brand creates
numerous touch points and innovates the way it communicates, people tend to look the other
way, towards the other interesting brands. Maggi had generally stayed away from taking the
celebrity endorsement route. But later Maggi roped Preity Zinta, an Indian Actress for a brief
period, to promote the Rs. 5 Chotu Maggi and the Maggi family packs. (Exhibit 2)

To make consumers part of the brands journey, Maggi launched a commercial which spoke
about various memories people associate with Maggi. The ad was conceptualized by Publicis
India and worked on the favourite emotions of Indians Nostalgia! (Exhibit 3) The
advertisement opened with a voiceover, which said that one has many memories attached with
Maggi over a period of 25 years. The ad is a collection of short vignettes, showcasing
consumers memories of Maggi. For instance, one child remembers eating Maggi on a camping
trip; while another person remembers serving Maggi, when people were stuck in the Mumbai
floods. The ad concludes with consumers being invited to share their own Maggi story, through
which they can get a chance to feature on the Maggi packs or ads.

As a part of its promotional drive, Maggi has launched a website,, where
consumers can upload their Maggi moments and submit their favorite Maggi recipe.

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 2

Consumers, whose stories or recipes are a hit with the company, will get a chance to be
featured on Maggi packs or ads. Maggi synonymous with noodles in India used real stories from
its consumers' loves taking storytelling to a whole new level and one can only guess what they
come up with next!
The next campaign launched by Maggi was 2 Minute Mein Khushiyan Stating happiness in 2
minutes. Amitabh Bachchan, an Indian Actor, was endorsed as brand ambassador for Maggi.
This campaign received huge attention and placed Maggi not only just ordinary snack but a
snack which every Indian loves to have over any happy occasion. (Exhibit 4)

'Maggi entrepreneurs'

The Maggi was not only limited to households but had also become a source of income for
many Indians. Priced around 12 15 Rupees a serving, and with three generations of Indians
growing up with it, Maggi was able to transcend all age and economic divides.

It spawned legions of Maggi "entrepreneurs" who have been selling instant noodles to office-
goers and college students with nothing more than a pressure stove, cheap aluminum utensils,
and stainless steel crockery and cutlery at their command. (Exhibit 5)

Popular hangouts such as Tapri restaurant, which began as a "Maggi joint" served Maggi in a
dozen innovative ways. Various flavors of Maggi were served by them and were almost an
integral part of any city. Just like coffee cafes and tea Tapris, Maggi Tapris also had become

Maggi Noodles Have Lead and MSG?

In May 2015, Food Safety Regulators from Barabanki, a district of Uttar Pradesh, India reported
that samples of Maggi 2 Minute Noodles had unexpectedly high levels of monosodium
glutamate, as well as up to 17 times the permissible limit of lead. This finding led to multiple
market withdrawals and investigations in India and beyond.


June 3, 2015 The New Delhi Government banned the sale of Maggi in New Delhi stores
for 15 days due to these findings. First Information Reports (FIRs) against Bollywood
Maggi Brand Ambassadors Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, and Preity Zinta were
lodged by Sudhir Kumar Ojha, a lawyer, at Muzaffarpur district court, asking the
authorities to arrest them if required. He complained that he fell sick after eating Maggi
which he had purchased from a shop at Lenin Chowk on 30 May.
June 4, 2015 The Gujarat FDA banned the noodles for 30 days after 27 out of 39
samples were detected with objectionable levels of metallic lead, among other things,
and Assam banned sale, distribution, and storage of Maggi's "extra delicious chicken
noodles" variety for 30 days after tests carried out at the state public health laboratory
concluded that the particular variety contained added monosodium glutamate and an

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 3

excessively high amount of lead. On June 4, 2015 the government of Tamil Nadu banned
Maggi foods due to an unacceptable amount of lead and other components.
June 5, 2015 The Andhra Pradesh Government also banned Maggi foods.
Also on June 5, 2015, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ordered a
recall of all nine approved variants of Maggi instant noodles and oats masala noodles,
suggesting that they were unsafe and hazardous for human consumption. On the same
day, the Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom launched an investigation into
the level of lead in Maggi noodles.
June 6, 2015 The Central Government of India banned nationwide sales of Maggi
noodles for an indefinite period.
June 26, 2015 During a press meeting, the Minister for Health and Family Welfare of
Karnataka, U. T. Khader, stated that Maggi foods would not be banned.
July, 2015 The Bombay High Court allowed the export of Maggi while the ban in India
August 2015 Tests performed by the US health regulator FDA showed no dangerous
lead levels in the products. On 13 August 2015, the nationwide ban was struck down by
the Bombay high court. The court stated that proper procedure was not followed in
issuing the ban and called into question the test results, as the samples were not tested
at authorized laboratories accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing
and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

Additional market bans

Some of India's biggest retailers (including Future Group's Big Bazaar, Easy day, and Nilgiris)
imposed a nationwide ban on Maggi. In addition, multiple state authorities in India found an
unacceptable amount of lead, leading to bans in more than 5 other states. Nepal indefinitely
banned Maggi over concerns about the lead levels in the product. Maggi noodles were
subsequently withdrawn from the market of five African nations: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania,
Rwanda and South Sudan.

Testing controversies

Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Testing found some MSG in Maggi noodles. The packet stated
"No added MSG"; however, MSG naturally occurs in hydrolyzed peanut protein, onion powder
and wheat flour. Maggi offered to remove the words "No added MSG" from the package to
overcome the objection.

Lead: Maggi noodles include flavoring packets named "Tastemaker" which is intended to
dissolve in water during cooking. Maggi insisted that testing should be done on the product as it
is eaten; however, the FSSAI insisted that the powder itself should be tested. On June 5, the
FSSAI said that the prescribed standards of 2.5 parts per million would have to apply to all
components of the product. Out of the 13 samples tested by Delhi authorities, 10 of them had
lead content exceeding this limit. The packets that initiated the investigation from Uttar
Pradesh had 17.2 ppm of lead. Nestl also questioned the reliability of the labs used. Results

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 4

from testing outside of India (Singapore, US) reported that Maggi noodles were safe. In the
later Bombay High Court judgment, the court agreed that the test results by earlier labs were
unreliable. The court mandated testing to be done at three specific laboratories (Punjab,
Hyderabad and Jaipur) where Maggi was found safe. The lead may have been naturally
occurring in plants and soil or from Indian spices, although within acceptable limits.

Loss of Brand Value

Maggis brand was valued at US$ 2.4bn prior to the food safety ban, which ranked the noodle
manufacturer as the 23rd most valuable food brand in the world. However, Brand Finance
analysts have calculated that the US$ 50m loss of goods combined with a damaged brand,
results in a reduced brand value of US$ 2.2bn.

Monetary Losses

Nestl India, which follows a January-December financial year, reported a decline of 17.2% in its
net sales for the year ended December 2015 on account of the Maggi setback. Net profit for the
year fell to Rs 563 Crore, from Rs 1,185 Crore in the previous year. Nestl India Chairman
Suresh Narayanan had, in a statement announcing the financial results, said "the impact of the
Maggi crisis extended to not just factories and employees but also partners, suppliers, farmers,
retailers and customers".

Following the ban, Nestl took a hit of Rs 450 Crore as it destroyed more than 30,000 tons of
Maggi. The firm had reported its first loss in three decades at Rs 64 Crore in the April-June
2015 quarter. The controversy also led to the share.

The size of the instant noodles category too shrunk by nearly half, to Rs 2,000 core for the full
year ended January 2016, from Rs 3,400 Crore in the preceding 12 months, two officials said,
and quoting data by researcher Nielsen.

Re-launching Maggi Noodles in India

In the entire tenure of Nestl Maggi in India, the 2015 fiasco was the most dreadful. For a
country like India where there are well-known food joints at some of the very unusual locations
who serve only Maggi, the entire episode turned out to be very alarming. A brand that has fed
the people of all ages, casts, communities and geographies suddenly vanished.

This controversy affected the whole instant noodle market heavily. The brand which had been
enjoying over 75% of the market share since ages saw the worst days in 2015 with a nationwide
ban on its instant noodle product. The entire market with sales of worth Rs 250-300 Crore a
month went down to 5-10% during the Maggi controversy.

Beginning from #WeMissYouToo, #MaggiMother and #WelcomeBackMaggi, the brand has

taken yet another emotional route to reach out to its customers with #NothingLikeMaggi. In a
series of videos, the brand is telling the masses that the product is still the same and is still as
special as it used to be before the controversy.

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 5


All throughout the ban when Maggi was striving hard to be back on shelves, the instant noodles
brand never closed the doors of communication with its consumers. In fact, it serenaded them
with tribute videos showing gratitude to its fans that were heavy on storytelling and emotional

Maggi has been systematically rolling out films in each phase of its ban status. It has also
ensured to address varied consumer segments in its video series young boys and girls living in
hostels, bachelor pads to the Indian moms whove been making Maggi for their kids ever since
its been there.

Nestl India had rolled out a series of short films #WeMissYouToo when it waited for the test
results. Dedicated to all the fans that supported and stood by the brand, there was a Maggi
fanboy/fangirl in each of the videos, who badly missed their favorite noodle. They are seen
making a plea to Maggi, as if it were their long lost friend Come back, man!, Ab aa bhi jao,
kab wapas aayega yaar?, We miss you Maggi. (Exhibit 6)

Welcome back, Maggi!

Maggi picked up from there on and slowly seems to have found its footing back in the country.
An update from Suresh Narayanan, CMD, Nestl India, states how happy he is to be handing
over Maggi to whom it belongs its consumers. Sadly, this has happened only after successfully
clearing the NABL test. Now it has tied up with Snapdeal for an exclusive Dil ki Deal where fans
can register for the limited period Maggi welcome kits.

Sharing his views on the campaign, Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika
Consulting says, "With its recent campaigns, the brand is aiming to play with memories, good
times and fond moments with Maggi. They are using nostalgia as a strategy and for a brand like
Maggi, which has been in the market for decades now; this is the most relevant thing to do as
they are working on the recovery management." (Exhibit 7)


#NothingLikeMaggi series is out at the right phase, and with the choice of Deepti Naval as the
mom, the proud papa Maggi story, the hostel Maggi traditions story, the campaign leaves
viewers with a nice nostalgic feel good emotion, which are great feelings to be associated with
the brand. And for people growing up in the 80s and 90s, the ad jingle Maggi, Maggi, Maggi
is a shot of pure nostalgia!

Maggi had been hit hard by the ban last year. While it was off the shelves, other brands happily
took over; but Maggi is fighting its way back to its earlier market position and back to our
hearts. The video-driven campaigns are based on stories that are highly relatable and evoke
emotions of longing for a loved one. The instant noodle brand has ensured a heavy brand recall
all throughout its difficult journey.

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 6

According to Maarten Geraets, general manager (foods), Nestl India, Maggi noodles plays
diverse roles in the lives of people and it has built special relationships and strong emotional
bonds with consumers. "Maggi noodles belong to the consumers and our recent and current
campaigns revolve around these emotions."

He points out that the "Welcome Back Maggi" campaign, when Maggi was re-launched in
November last year, "reflected the emotion and joy that consumers from all walks of life and
age-groups felt on its return". Following up on it, the current campaign, Geraets adds, "brings
alive the diverse roles that Maggi plays in the consumer's life, both emotional (reliving college
life/impressing the better half) as well as functional (the only thing he can cook and present
confidently)." (Exhibit 8)

Current Status of Maggi

Maggi has reached nearly 60 percent of the instant noodle market share. "We are now close to
60 per cent market share and we are at the market leadership position," Nestl India Chairman
and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan told.

Asked how much time it would take for Maggi to reach its pre-crisis level, he said, "Its difficult
to speculate. The energy and drive of the organization remains to get back to the peak level,
but it is going to involve a lot of efforts, a lot of imagination and perseverance, which we are
willing to do."

'Ab Har Taste Apna'

India is a rapidly evolving market and the taste palate is changing very dynamically. The forces
of urbanization, increased experimentation and the attitude towards cuisines have led people
to experiment with their food. To cater to this huge consumer base, Nestl India recently
launched the MAGGI Masalas of India Noodles range. The new range of MAGGI noodles
consists of four new flavors - Amritsari Achari, Mumbaiya Chatak, Super Chennai and Bengali

"We wanted to give MAGGI lovers even more ways to enjoy their favorite noodles. So, we
launched 'Masalas of India' after extensive market and consumer research which led us to
believe that locally inspired food with its own set of signature spices, which will give Maggi local
flavor from the region, will be a success. The success of our previously launched 'MAGGI HOT
HEADS' also made us believe that our consumers are willing to experiment with MAGGI," was
quoted directly from Maarten Geraets, general manager (Food), Nestl India, about the
recently launched Masalas of India noodles range. (Exhibit 9)

Healthy Maggi

The 151-year-old company, based at Vevey in Switzerland, is working on its commitment to

provide consumers choices for balanced diets and active lifestyles, a spokesperson for the

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 7

foods giant in India said. We are working to improve the nutrient profile of our products, and
proactively reducing sodium, salt, sugar, saturated fats and trans-fats across relevant product
categories through ongoing product reformulations, she said.

Digital Marketing & Sales Channel

Starting the digital marketing arm by selling Maggi noodles on Snapdeal, Nestl Maggi has
roped in Paytm and Google for their marketing and sales activities. Paytm Mall has created a
special Maggi brand store to sell 'Maggi Masalas' from April 22 and Google will run an online
contest for consumers to guess the new flavors by choosing the correct options and submitting
their votes. "The objective of this engagement is to build anticipation and excitement around
the new variants, where consumers have to guess the four flavors from the eight options
provided," Nestl said in a statement.


"Nestl India is exploring ways to fortify its mass consumption products to close the gap and
contribute to the larger national objective". Nestl India Chairman & Managing Director Suresh
Narayanan said: "At the forefront of this drive is the commitment to reshape Maggi brand's
products to emphasize the use of familiar and common ingredients that people know and use
for home cooking, from their own kitchen cupboard."

The segment clocked Rs 990 Crore in sales for the quarter ended June, a sharp recovery from
the Rs 190 Crore recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015, industry executives said, citing
data from market research firm Nielsen. Nestls noodle brand Maggi was declared unsafe and
hazardous by the food regulator in June 2015 after samples were found to contain excessive
lead. The action reduced the categorys sales to a fifth as several other brands were also taken
off the shelves in its aftermath. Before the Maggi fiasco, the category had quarterly sales of Rs
900 Crore.

"Since the comeback of Maggi Noodles, the category which had seen a significant reduction has
revived once again and is at very encouraging levels of recovery, said Nestl Indias
spokesperson. The Indian unit of the Swiss food giant recently launched four flavors - Amritsari
Achari, Mumbaiya Chatak, Super Chennai and Bengali Jhaal. Online retailing, newer players
including Patanjali, and retailers' own labels added to the growth, according to a report by Euro
monitor, which said sales of rice, pasta and noodles grew 36 per cent in 2016.

Since its comeback in 2016, Maggi noodles has clawed back to its position and now holds 60%
of the instant noodles market as against 80% before the ban. However, Maggi noodles' growth

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 8

rate is now slowing. Between January to March of 2017, Nestle India's net profit rose 6.76% to
Rs 306.76 Crore, while total sales were up nearly 10%, at Rs 2,591.90 Crore. Nestle India said,
The net sale growth was on the back of domestic sales which increased by 9.7% mainly due to
rise in volumes, including rebuild of Maggi Noodles, supplemented by marginally better
realization mostly from carrying over pricing. (Exhibit 11)

"The market took two years, but has successfully touched its pre-crisis level at around Rs. 4,000
Crore, said Gautam Sharma, managing director at Indo Nissin Foods, which holds 10 per cent
market share through its brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.


What do you think, with the current marketing strategies, would Nestl be able to achieve the
market share it had previously before the crisis. Justify?

What do you think, should Nestle maggi diversify to reduce their reliance on Maggi in India?

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 9

Exhibit 1: Exhibit 2:

Maggi Noodles Ad Campaign with Preity

First campaign of Maggi Noodles Zinta

Exhibit 3:

Me and Meri Maggi Campaign

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 10


Exhibit 5:

2 Minute mein Khushiya campaign with

A Maggi Tapri in Kolkata
Amitabh Bachchan
Exhibit 6:

#WeMissYouToo Maggi relaunch campaign

Exhibit 7:

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 11

Exhibit 8: Exhibit 9:

Nothing Like Maggi Campaign

'Ab Har Taste Apna' Campaign by Maggi

Exhibit 10:

Rupees in Millions

Particulars 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Domestic Sales 81,561.9 87,537.4 94,853.2 77,949.1 88,338.0

Export Sales 4,256.9 6,261.3 6,441.8 6,355.3 6,579.2

Less: Excise duty 2,796.2 3,179.7 3,232.3 3,071.7 3,324.4

Net Sales 83,022.6 90,619.0 98,062.7 81,232.7 91,592.8

Other Operating Income 322.7 391.5 485.7 520.4 645.2

Total revenue from operations 83,345.3 91,010.5 98,548.4 81,753.1 92,238.0

Total Expenses 67,944.9 74,068.7 80,622.9 68,415.6 76,519.3

Profit From Operations 15,400.4 16,941.8 17,925.5 13,337.5 15,718.7

Other income 310.3 830.9 873.2 1,100.9 1,493.9

Finance costs 266.0 365.1 142.3 32.9 35.1

Employee benefit expense due to * 558.1 648.3 753.2 874.0

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 12

passage of time

Net provision for contingencies

-81.5 207.4 249.5 301.5 1,266.7

Profit Before Exceptional Items

15,526.2 16,642.1 17,758.6 13,350.8 15,036.8
And Taxation

Exceptional items -
- -138.1 -70.0 5,008.4 307.8

Corporate social responsibility

- 0.0 85.1 206.1 313.6

Profit before taxation 15,526.2 16,780.2 17,743.5 8,136.3 14,415.4

Tax expense 4,846.9 5,608.9 5,896.6 2,503.6 5,150.0

Profit after taxation 10,679.3 11,171.3 11,846.9 5,632.7 9,265.4

Earnings per Share (Rs.) 110.8 115.9 122.9 58.4 96.1

Dividends per Share (Rs.) 48.5 48.5 63.0 48.5 63.0

Exhitbit 11:

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 13

Exhibit 12:

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 14


1. "History of Maggi".

2. "FOOD HISTORY: History of Maggi brand of Nestl".
3. Maggi: Maggi Wikipedia,
4. How Maggi noodles became Indias favorite comfort
5. This is why India is obsessed with Maggi instant noodles,
6. Maggi to Meri Maggi The Journey of Maggi Noodles
7. How Maggi Noodles became an Ionic Indian Snack,
8. Maggi Noodles: Reclaiming faith in an instant,
9. Maggi Goes Back In Time To Remind Us That Theres #NothingLikeMaggi,
10.Maggis Comeback Campaign Is A Good Guide To Storytelling In The Digital Age,
11.Heres How Nestl is Using Nostalgia as a Strategy in Maggis Comeback Ads,
12.Nestl adopts health mission to make their products healthier,
13.Noodle market now as slurpy as it was before Maggi crisis,
14.Nestl launches iron fortified Maggi noodles,
15.Nestl partners Google, Paytm to promote new Maggi noodles,
16. Maggi Noodles growth rate slows even Nestle introduces new flavors,
17. "Maggi clears Bombay HC mandated lab tests: [Nestl] India". The Indian Express. 2015-

Nestle Maggi Noodles Page 15

Related Interests