All work and no play – that’s how Maggi employees are living their life these days
"I haven't slept for more than two hours in the past fortnight," rued a
As per a news report in the ET, 7,000 employees, including those working at its five noodles plants in Moga, Pantnagar, Nanjangud, Bicholin and Tahliwal had the nightmare on April 30. That was when a 1998-batch food inspector by the name of Sanjay Singh in Uttar Pradesh's Barabanki town turned the food giant's world upside down. As things moved from bad to worse and Nestle's nightmare snowballed into one of the biggest controversies of the year, Nestle had to press in its entire team into firefighting. It has flown in
Few of the facts are in public domain. Nestle, known for being one of the most media-shy companies in the consumer-goods space, sent out text invites for its only media briefing since the mega controversy broke out, postmidnight Thursday, according to the ET. The conference was at 12 noon on Friday, and there wasn't even enough time to send out email invites. Public relations agency Text 100 was given the mandate to organise the conference. The statement announcing the voluntary recall of
The firefighting had begun on all fronts, but a little late. "The company's reticence in the face of the mounting controversy is surprising. Its press conference came 16 days after the news broke on UP FDA's findings. 16 days is an eternity in an age of social media," financial services firm Kotak Institutional
"Nestle underestimated the impact of the controversy in the initial days. They were, in a sense, caught completely
At the press briefing which Bulcke, India chairman
Nestle is also not commenting on lobbying firm Apco being given the mandate to douse the Maggi fire. Apco, which managed PR for Vibrant Gujarat, too, isn't talking. But executives in the know said the first priority is getting the government on their side, which it believes will lead to restoring consumer confidence.
Nestle employees have been told not to talk to anyone - not even to trade partners - unless approved by the legal team. Those working in plants have been told not to go on leave as every product is being tested and re-tested several times, people involved with the company said.
The company, whose market cap has lost 15% (Rs 10,300 crore), over the past one week, will take a hit of about 7% in sales because of the Maggi recall.
Maggi is a Rs 2,000-crore brand, the biggest in the company's portfolio, and Nestle could lose Rs 180 crore in monthly sales until the product is back on shelves, said Abneesh Roy, an
The Maggi fire has burnt rivals too, which are looking at the controversy grudgingly. Sales of the entire noodles category are down by close to 80% in the country - the fifth largest instant noodles market in the world. Retailers like Savemax have removed all
In 2014, the domestic instant noodle market was valued at Rs 3,800 crore, with value growth of 7.4% and volume growth of 2.9%.