India’s favourite two-minute noodle, Maggi, is likely to be back in stores soon. Hours after the Bombay high court lifted a ban on the sale of the noodle in India on Thursday, a company official said it would be available across the country within the next couple of months.
“Maggi would come into the market within two months after tests clearances. Production is not a challenge, but distribution could be,” the official said. A Nestle spokesperson, however, refused to comment on any time frame.
Maggi noodles, manufactured in India, were banned in different states across the country following reports that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had found a high level of lead taste enhancers in them. On Thursday, the Bombay high court set aside the food regulator’s ban, but asked Nestle India to conduct fresh tests before the popular snack is allowed back in shops. It set a six-week timeframe for the tests.
“We are fully committed to bring Maggi noodles back to consumers. Nevertheless, the process is lengthy and complex and will require alignment with several stakeholders, including suppliers, distributors and retailers among others, as well as continuous engagement with the authorities,” a Nestle India spokesperson said.
“The process of reactivating the manufacturing process can only be finalised after we are aligned with the various stakeholders,” he added.
Nestle on Thursday reported a 2.5% year-on-year decline in consolidated net profit to $4.6 billion during January-June 2015. Last month, the local unit of the Swiss food major last month reported its first quarterly loss in more than 15 years at Rs 64.4 crore during April-June against a net profit of Rs 287.86 crore a year ago.
The company incurred a one-time cost of Rs 451.6 crore related to the removal of Maggi noodles from the domestic market. Net sales fell 20.1% to Rs 1,933.8 crore during the quarter as the firm withdrew about 30,000 tonnes of Maggi from the market, reversing sales worth Rs 288.4 crore
“For Nestle, filling the pipeline is not much of an issue, but re-distributing it to every nook and corner of the country will be a time-consuming process,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultancy Technopak.