Nestle India's instant noodle Maggi is back with a bang, selling about 33 million packs of the fast food in 10 days since it was relaunched in the Indian market last week (See: Instant hit: 60,000 Maggi 12-packs sold in 5 minutes on Snapdeal), even as the government and food safety authorities continue to pursue a Rs640-crore class action suit (Govt files class action suit against Nestle India, seeks Rs640 cr damages) in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
Nestle India, the Indian arm of Swiss food giant Nestle SA, said it was selling Maggi at 1.2 lakh outlets through 724 distributors in 350 towns across India, on the strength of a Bombay high court order that lifted the ban on its sale imposed by food safety regulator FSSAI and the Maharashtra FDA.
The government, however, said it will continue to pursue its Rs640-crore class action suit filed in NCDRC against Nestle India, although the company's instant noodles Maggi has returned to the market after the Bombay High Court lifted the ban on the sale of Maggi noodles (Bombay HC lifts ban on Nestle's Maggi, orders fresh tests).
The Department of Consumer Affairs had filed a suit against Nestle India in August seeking damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.
Nestle India relaunched the product last week, five months after it was banned by central food safety regulator FSSAI.
The company said it had to bear an exceptional cost of Rs476.2 crore, which included cost of destroying 34.66 tonnes of the fast food after it was found unsuitable for human consumption.
Nestle had relaunched Maggi noodles in the market on 9 November 2015 on the strength of an order from the Bombay High Court, which lifted the ban imposed by FSSAI (FSSAI asks Nestle India to recall all 9 "unsafe" noodle varieties) and Maharashtra FDA on the product after laboratory tests found Maggi contained excessive levels of lead and taste maker.
Although FSSAI, India's food regulator, took a knee-jerk step in banning Maggi, the Bombay high court lifted the ban in August and allowed the manufacture after Nestle's got its noodles passed through lab tests at local government-approved labs. The noodles are back on the shelves in India though there are issues to be sorted out.
Maggi, which has been making substantial profit for its maker Nestle for three decades without confirming to safety norms, is now crying foul of government's regulatory intervention.
And, with Maggi back in the market, Nestle India said it is now aiming for "bring back double digit growth" and "back to stability".