A latest PTI news report states that Singapore has allowed the sale of Maggi noodles manufactured in India after safety tests by food authorities found that the popular instant snack does not pose any health risk to consumers. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) had last week advised importers to withhold sales while it conducted laboratory tests, following concerns over higher-than-permissible levels of lead in the product.
This should be a big relief for its parent company Nestle and all the Maggi lovers in the country. Shares of Nestle India Ltd rose as much as 9.75% to Rs.6,080 a piece on BSE on Tuesday, for the first time since 21 May, following media reports. Since 21 May, Nestle India’s stock has lost 20.29%, from Rs.6,950.30 to Rs.5,539.80.
Nestlé’s instant noodle brand, Maggi has often been accused of having additives likes MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) considered as harmful for children. But this time things got worse for the popular 2-minute noodle brand and ultimately after a lot of dilly-dallying it had to issue a product recall in India.
Throughout the controversy, Nestle continued shifting its stance, first it was not ready to accept the accusation but later claimed that the presence of lead is within permissible limits. In fact when India’s food regulators ordered the withdrawal of all nine Maggi instant noodle varieties from markets on Friday, tagging them “unsafe” for human consumption, Nestle’s global chief executive Paul Bulcke defended the brand.
“We decided to take the noodles off shelves as there was confusion about safety. The safety of our consumers is paramount. We are working with the authorities to clear up this confusion.”
The Rs.2000 crore brand right now is on aggressive fire fighting mode with staff and executives having sleepless nights. However the move has come a little late after it had been butchered on social media for its negligent and lack luster approach. Maggi was taken off guard in this controversy and went clueless in managing its online reputation. Definitely, auto responses on Twitter, like this - “We do not add MSG to MAGGI noodles. Some ingredients may contain naturally occurring Glutamate, which can be mistaken for MSG” isn’t online reputation management.
According to Simplify 360, a social media monitoring product, the Maggi crisis generated a total of 4.43 lakh conversations on social media. June 5th saw more than 76K conversations with more than 19K average conversations per day. With 4.37 lakh conversations, Twitter contributed the maximum to the controversy.
Listed are below 3 charts (tracked from May 17 to June 8, 2022) that show how Maggi had to pay for its ignorant attitude on social media. By the way Nestle could lose Rs. 180 crores in monthly sales until the product is back on shelves.