HYDERABAD: For 20-year-old Lahari, Maggi was the first dish she learnt to cook – her saviour food she tells us. “It will be my all-time favourite and I will not be able to survive without it,” she says after she heard this bit of news.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been asked to carry out a quality check and ban Maggi if need be. This after they found high levels of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and lead, both beyond permissible limits.
The journey of Maggi in India dates back to the year 1982 when the word ‘instant foods’ had to be looked up in the dictionary. The brand has been tweaking Maggi to suit changing times.
Though it started with Maggi masala, it soon came up with variants in flavour – chicken and tomato. As Indians started to understand the downside of maida, Maggi changed its formula too. Variants in the noodle cakes then included wheat, oats, rice and multi grains. Then came the Maggi Cuppa Mania that can be consumed right off the rack.
Maggi soups and curry masalas too eventually got popular.
Maggi is the best go-to option for hostellers, school children and even housewives.
“I eat quite it often, at least thrice a week. It is the easiest option because its cheap, easy to cook and all you need is just an electric kettle. It fills your tummy and its satisfies your tastebuds too!,” says Keerthana Karthikeyan a hosteller at the University of Hyderabad. She adds, there is an emotion attached to it that only hostellers can understand.
Jayasree C, another hosteller agrees. “Earlier, I would eat Maggi once every week. But after shifting to hostel, Maggi packets are all over the place,” she says.
Despite many competitors in the market, there is nothing that can replace Maggi, adds Jayasree. “It can’t be replaced for at least the next 50 years because we are so used to it. I think twice before buying instant noodles if it is not Maggi,” and feels that it is unlikely to be banned or replaced.
Sudha Mai, mother of two teenagers says her children love the noodles and her kitchen is always stocked with it. “I enjoy eating Maggi as much as my children. Most Sunday it is our breakfast,” she admits.
Others like corporate employee Munnagkumar Anne are of the view that though all those habituated to Maggi would not die if its banned, something needs to be done surely and soon as no one knows how safe other brands of instant noodles are. “Steps should be taken to fix this problem. I don’t want to compromise on the taste,” he says.