How Maggi caught a nation’s fancy

“Mummy mummy bhook lagihai! Bas do minute”. An indulgent Mom rushes to cook fresh snack food for her hungry kids and even adds her special touch in the form of chopped vegetables. All this done magically in 2 minutes… and about 30 years ago!

India has always been a traditionally rice eating nation. Our knowledge of noodles in the 1980’s rested between the occasional chowmein and the thele-wala hakka noodles. Yet somehow a completely new innovation managed to sweep a nation off its feet in a matter of a few short years. From never having eaten anything but rice and roti, we’ve reached a point where the ability to make Maggi is now touted as proof of the ability to cook a meal.

The magic behind Maggi was a beautifully aligned gap in the market which was filled via an innovative positioning in consumer minds and a well-defined brand purpose. Contextually in the India of 1980, there was no freshly home cooked snack food and no other hot, quick cooking options existed. There was need for an almost ready-to-eat snack that could be the meal between meals, which mothers would approve of, and kids would love. And that’s how India’s ‘2 minute noodle’ was born.

After many hundreds of tasting sessions, the Maggi Noodles was perfected to suit the Indian palette. It was tested among consumers and received the nod from discerning children. In order to get the gatekeeper mums on board, the introduction of fresh vegetables was always encouraged in the making of Maggi.

The ATL positioning of the two-minute snack was supported by its presence on kirana store counters in BTL. As a snack, Maggi was pitted against the likes of chips, namkeen and confectionery – all the options that kids had to fill that in-between-meal craving.  Therefore Maggi was stocked near the counters at general trade, often in baskets hung from the ceiling.

Maggi is credited with being one of the most successful food launches in the country. It is testament to the fact that a brand can have deeper meaning in consumer lives by positioning itself in a manner that is relevant and true. If there is a strong product story, a strategically positioned brand with a strong purpose can shape and define an entire market.

To read more about the nuances that went into the creation of Maggi, get your hands on The Two-Minute Revolution – available at all leading bookstore and Amazon.

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