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Why we've been craving Maggi during the pandemic

It may not have the kind of monopoly it once did, yet for millions of Indians today Maggi is a reminder of their growing up years, a staple from when life was simpler.

January 29, 2022 / 02:12 PM IST
Between March 1, 2020, and January 11, 2021, searches for Maggi recipes rose dramatically, with Google searches for Egg Maggi recipes and Cheese Maggi recipes seeing 180% and 160% increase, respectively.

Between March 1, 2020, and January 11, 2021, searches for Maggi recipes rose dramatically, with Google searches for Egg Maggi recipes and Cheese Maggi recipes seeing 180% and 160% increase, respectively.

The moment Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 24, 2020, Kejal Mehta, like several other Indians, rushed out of her home in Mumbai to the nearest grocery store to stock up. Among the many things she bought that evening were Maggi packets, a few dozen of them.

Mehta lives alone and relies on her visiting cook to prepare meals. When the lockdown was announced, she figured she’d be the one cooking and stocked up on ready-to-cook meals. Maggi, however, ended up being her go-to meal on most days.

To be sure, Maggi is often used interchangeably with instant noodles in India - it is among the oldest and most widely used brand of instant noodles in the country. And like all instant noodle brands, Maggi is convenient to make – boil water, add the masala, toss in the noodles and you’re done. If you’re feeling inspired, maybe throw in a few veggies or green chillies and a dollop of butter.

So, it was no surprise then that Maggi noodles flew off the shelves in a matter of days after the lockdown began. At a time when most companies struggled to cope with the disruption caused by Covid-19, Nestle India posted strong sales in Q1 of 2020, thanks to products such as Maggi, Kitkat, and Munch.