Nestle ‘unhealthy’ food controversy: Looking back at the Maggi Noodles crisis in India

The world’s largest client food and drinks firm Nestle has been dealing with criticism after an inside presentation revealed {that a} majority of its mainstream food and drinks portfolio is unhealthy.

In the inside doc, the firm mentioned that 60 per cent of its food and drinks portfolio — barring classes resembling pet food, child method and low — don’t meet the recognised definition of well being. It additionally acknowledged the indisputable fact that a few of its food merchandise will “never be healthy”.

Read | Nestle’s ‘unhealthy’ food portfolio controversy: All you need to know

The primary motive behind the criticism this time revolves round how wholesome are the mainstream merchandise manufactured by the firm. The firm is now in damage control mode.

However, this controversy is nowhere near the crisis involving Nestle India’s Maggi Noodles over six years in the past.


The crisis involving Maggi Noodles in India was so dangerous that a number of case studies have been made on it. It practically threatened the existence of Nestle India as Maggi gross sales contributed to over 25 per cent revenues of the Swiss firm’s India unit.

It was in 2014 when food security regulators from the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh reported that samples of Maggi Noodles had excessive ranges of monosodium glutamate (MSG) aside from excessive lead content material above the permissible degree. At the time, the labelling on packets of Maggi Noodles indicated that it had no added MSG.

A report from 2017 recounted that a person named Sanjay Singh, who was a food inspector in Uttar Pradesh authorities’s Food Safety and Drug Administration, noticed the label on the vivid yellow Maggi packet that claimed “no added MSG” in March 2014 throughout one in all his routine raids on shops.

When it was despatched to a state laboratory in Gorakhpur for testing, it was discovered that the immediate noodle packets had MSG. The samples have been then despatched to the Central Food Laboratory (CFL) in Kolkata just a few months later.

Almost a yr later in April 2015, the CFL confirmed the Gorakhpur lab report and likewise confirmed that the quantity of lead discovered was over 1,000 occasions greater than what Nestle India Ltd had claimed.

However, Nestle in its first official assertion after the report claimed that there was no order to recall Maggi Noodles being bought and that it was fit for human consumption. However, the controversy grew when the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) requested Nestle to recall Maggi Noodles.

Nestle was left with no alternative however to recall the widespread snack from the market. Between June 5 and September 1, 2015, practically 38,000 tonnes of Maggi Noodles have been recalled from retail shops throughout the nation and destroyed. Maggi’s share in the Indian market went down from 80 per cent to zero.

Also Read | Maggi row: Nestle India decides to take noodles off the shelves

Five months after the model was pressured to drag out of the market over security issues, Nestle India’s Maggi Noodles returned to cabinets in November 2015. However, native bans continued in some states even after Maggi returned to the markets. It took nearly one other yr for Maggi to return to outlets throughout all states in the nation.

Nestle India, Chairman & MD, Suresh Narayanan, in a 2017 interview to mentioned how the Maggi Noodles crisis was the most challenging and dramatic situation in his entire professional career.

“Maggi is the worst crisis that we have faced in the 104 years of our existence in this country, also the worst crisis the company has faced globally in a long time,” he mentioned at the time.


The new controversy over ‘unhealthy’ food and drinks is unlikely to impression Nestle India as its portfolio is completely different from the dad or mum firm. It could also be famous that India is one in all the few nations the place Nestle has a neighborhood analysis and growth facility for a very long time.

Abneesh Roy, Executive Director (Institutional Equities), Edelweiss Securities, instructed that Nestle India has solely 9 manufacturers out of 35 billionaire manufacturers of the dad or mum. Roy additionally mentioned that he doesn’t anticipate the international row to considerably impression Nestle India’s enterprise.

One of the motive is that over 45 per cent of Nestle India’s merchandise comprise well being and diet merchandise resembling child food, dairy merchandise and low, which weren’t labeled as “unhealthy” in the inside doc.

Other outstanding merchandise in Nestle India’s portfolio are Maggi Noodles and goodies — each of which can be onerous to renovate in case they don’t meet the wholesome standards. Even then, the “unhealthy” food portfolio is unlikely to impression gross sales of Nestle India merchandise.

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