No coronavirus blues for Maggi; Nestle says its popular noodles saw high demand amid lockdown

Nestle’s Maggi brand noodles.

For Nestle, its popular noodles brand Maggi witnessed no slowdown amid coronavirus lockdown. In fact, demand soared for both consumption and stockpiling purposes for the 2-minute-noodles brand as people stayed home. While FMCG companies were struggling to keep up the supplies of essential items amid a pandemic, the Indian arm of Swiss FMCG giant Nestle was also trying to meet the increased demand for its noodle brand. “Maggi noodles, there was almost a 20-25% surge that suddenly happened and obviously, we were scurrying to try and meet the demand,” Suresh Narayanan, CEO and MD, Nestle India, told CNBC TV-18 in an interview. Among the other well doing categories of the FMCG giant Nestle included coffee segment, milk and nutrition. 

As the government recently eased lockdown restrictions, companies moved fast to fix the supply chain disruption and reopen factories. Nestle India is now also working at upward of 90% capacity utilization.

Coronavirus shapes new trends in consumer behavior

Meanwhile, a lot has changed for fast moving consumer goods companies ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit the globe. Companies have witnessed a shift in consumer preferences and shopping now revolves around several important trends, Suresh Narayanan said. These trends include a balancing of in-home consumption versus out-home consumption, an increase in demand for products from trustworthy and reliable brands, emphasis on nutrition segment and a distinct trend of downtrading because of impact on employment.

While there has been downtrading, consumers are also shifting to higher grammage packs for the purpose of stockpiling. This is expected to normalise in the months to come. Demand from rural India is also likely to make a comeback after a lull of over a year. Further, the pandemic has also pushed digital connectivity which has exploded in the past few weeks. “In this context, we have witnessed a surge in demand for our categories,” Suresh Narayanan said.

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