Well, I guess every one of us has a memory related to Maggi, the 2 minute noodles. Frankly speaking, I too have some sepia tinted memories of the product. A plateful of maida ornamented with some peas and chopped carrots. I believe all of us are connected to the brand in some or the other manner. Our association and love for Maggi presents a rather nostalgic and a largely youthful side of our lives. Maggi was something which connected the youngsters. As teenagers, a pot full of boiling water and a magical tastemaker were enough to get even the clumsiest of us into our kitchen in our boxers.
Maggi used to be a saviour whenever our mothers used to cook ladyfingers or yellow dal. It used to be our partner in all sorts of crimes right from bunking classes in schools to sitting aimlessly in the college canteens and gossiping with friends and peers while stuffing our mouth with Maggi.
Whenever we used to go mountaineering, our food of choice and comfort used to be Maggi. Sometimes lashes of cooked eggs used to accompany it. Well, it used to be prepared fresh at a roadside Dhabha under a transient roof. Years passed and with the ever-increasing influence of Multinational food outlets like Mcdonald’s and KFC, we had the choice of some sophisticated and rather delicious snacking options. Yet, we ended up seeking easy contentment, even as adults, we used to fall back on the smooth, buttery taste of Maggi noodles.
While trekking on the mountains when the mountaineers aren’t able to find food for miles, they grab a pot full of boiling water and add multiple bags of Maggi to it. The taste of Maggi makes them feel the warmth and contentment which cannot be described in words.
The panic which has gripped the masses in the past one week or so is because of the fact that Maggi had acquired a cult status in the memory of children and parents alike. All of us knew at the back of our minds that instant food was hardly going to be loaded with tons and tons of nutrients but we still loved it. Perhaps because it was cheap, convenient and had a rather simple recipe. I believe all of us knew that Maggi lacked nutritional value but that happens to be completely different from Maggi not being safe for consumption.
With the consumer trust on an all time low, the domestic shopkeepers all over the country are removing Maggi noodles off their shelves. Some experts have even ended up calling Nestle a soft target and rather raised their concerns over the constantly deteriorating plight of street food in India. I don’t find this argument valid at all. I mean are we going to compare the standards and accountability of a street hawker to that of a multinational having a market share worth US$ 25 million?
Furthermore, If the labelling on the packet happens to be misleading then why hasn’t someone in the food and safety department brought that to light over all these years? The thing that seems to have gone against Nestle is the “Why just me” argument. Maggi is one of the most iconic products which accounts for nearly 20% of the company’s global revenue. The press statement which announced the company’s decision to withdraw Maggi from the market was quite vague. The company claimed that the product is safe without even answering a single question that the consumers would have wanted answered.
Well, many of the questions still await appropriate answers. Nestle’s strange behaviour and stubborn attitude towards the entire problem has certainly lead to a massive backlash across the Indian market. Today, the product is facing a massive credibility crisis in the Indian market. For the time being, we can draw out a conclusion that “ Fast to cook is not always healthy to eat”. Maggi can be seen drowning in pot of boiling water which may even become a graveyard of brand which was once considered iconic.