Nestle India is yet to recover Maggie’s complete market share when it was banned in June 2015, but hopes to get back to normal after launching new variants like ‘cup” and ‘atta’ noodle.
“Distribution of Maggi has almost reached 75 per cent to 80 per cent of what “we were earlier at”, said Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director of Nestle India, adding, “When the other variants come, I hope that we would be able to catch-up the balance part of the distribution. We are on the road to recovery.”
He, however, was candid in admitting that he did not have a magic wand. “In the coming quarters you can see that traction coming back,” Narayanan claimed.
The company plans to launch new variants this calendar year itself, he said. However, they are yet to decide whether to re-launch all the variants or some select products, the head of Nestle India said, adding there might be some new ones as well. “There are initiatives in dairy, coffee, chocolate, which you are seeing,” he said.
He also disclosed that there was a “Plan B” ready in the period when the Maggie ban was in force, but it was not shared with staff, lest they got de-motivated. Commenting about reports of fresh tests being conducted on Maggie samples, he said “we have not received any official intimation of the samples of Maggi noodles, which has been tested for ash.”
Downplaying the competition with Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Noodles, Narayanan said competition always energises. “Competition energises me as a leader. Those brands, which have relevant consumer propositions, which appeal to consumers over a period of time, will gain primacy in terms of market share.”
Narayanan also said that the ban on Maggie had dispirited the team and the organisation had broken down. However, through constant communication with employees and other stakeholders, the company had bounced back when the product was re-launched, he said.
After being dormant for five months, to re-build the supply chain was a great challenge, he said. The government had banned Maggie noodle for allegedly containing more than permissible limit of lead and mono sodium glutamate.