As the weekend mood sets in, the brand that I chose for today is Maggi – ‘Fast to Cook Good to Eat’. Though we all know Maggi as the instant two minutes noodle, but do you know that this fun food, which delights most children, is a brand that carries more than a century old legacy?
Convenience Food for over a century
The history of Maggi dates back to 1863, Switzerland. Maggi derives its name from its founder Julius Maggi, who created a recipe of flavors to add taste to meals. The 19th century saw the Industrial Revolution. After women in Switzerland took up factory jobs, they were left with very little time to prepare elaborate meals. The Swiss Public Welfare Society called upon Julius Maggi, a pioneer in combining convenience and nutrition, to develop solutions to improve the nutrition of the working class.
By 1886, Julius Maggi had launched his ready-to-use soups, followed by the seasoning that would give a meaty, spicy taste to Maggi soups and leguminous flour, making them more enjoyable. Nestlé acquired the Maggi brand in 1947.
2 Minute noodles – the Indian Avatar of Maggi
“Mummy bhook lagi hai” (Mom, I’m hungry) say the children as they come running to their mom. “Bas do minute” (Only 2 minutes) says the mom and she prepares a hot bowl of Maggi. This TV advert of Maggi is imprinted in our minds for quite some years.
It was in 1982 that Maggi was introduced in India as the instant 2 Minute Noodles. In those days, the food habits in India were very conservative. People mostly preferred traditional food preparations over any canned or packaged food, and instant noodle was an entirely new concept.
Initially, the brand was targeted at working women on the premise that Maggi noodles were fast to cook and hence offered convenience. But when Nestle India Ltd found that it was children who devoured Maggi, they positioned Maggi as a ‘fun’ food for kids which mothers could prepare easily.
Taste and health – is there an issue?
In 1985, Maggi launched the Tomato Ketchup as an accompaniment to make food- tasty and more palatable, and three years later we saw the launch of Maggi instant soups in India.
Since the early 2000s, the Nestlé Group had been introducing ‘health and wellness‘ products all over the world. The Maggi brand also followed the suit and took the health route with the launch of Vegetable Atta Noodles in 2005, which are supposed to be healthier as they are made of whole wheat flour instead of maida (refined wheat) and contain real vegetables.
However, recently the reports of high levels of MSG (Monosodim Glutamate) and lead in Maggi, which can cause severe health problems, have hit the market and Nestle may be under pressure to withdraw Maggi.
Yet, with its attractive packaging, consistent quality and excellent communication, Maggi has remained a favorite brand in India since the last 3 decades.
Hope that Nestle India maintains the credibility of the brand in line with its origin, and live up to their reputation and endeavor to make it easier for their women to work, while providing their families with tasty and healthy meals.
What do you think Nestle should do?
** This is a revised version of the article after the news of high levels MSG & lead being found in Maggi.
Image source : www.nestleprofessional.com
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