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Maggi: The Story Of The Simple Noodles Which Became An Iconic Indian Snack

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Maggi: The Story Of The Simple Noodles Which Became An Iconic Indian Snack


If you are an Indian there is no chance that you would have missed seeing the simple Maggi masala noodles on Indian streets.  The bright yellow packaging is hard to miss when visiting any grocery store or supermarket.  Maggi is undoubtedly the king of Indian snacks and wildly popular with youngsters across the country for its quick cook time and ease of preparation.  Many a student or bachelor must have definitely whipped themselves up a quick bowl of warm Maggi noodles because they were feeling lazy or just simply craving for a bowl of goodness.  However, this iconic brand has a long history starting with its introduction to Indian markets to the current day where it is available almost everywhere.

Beginnings:

The Maggi brand was originally born in Switzerland in 1886 by Julius Maggi when the government tasked him with making a food product that is not just fast to cook but also delicious to taste.  After a few experiments, Julius came up with a pea and bean soup which was simple and quick to cook.  After further experimentation Julius figured out that a cheap but delicious food product would be helpful for industry workers and that was when he came up with the idea of soups, sauces and flours prepared from pulses.  In the year 1897 Maggi GmBH was founded in Singen, Germany.  Nestle group later acquired Maggi in 1947.  Maggi products are extremely popular in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and many other countries in the Middle East.

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Brand Spread in India

The introduction of the humble Maggi noodles dates back a few decades to the early 1980s when the Indian Cricket team won its first World Cup in 1983.  Maggi was introduced as a brand and it was marketed as a food that could be cooked in two minutes.  The ‘2 minute noodles’ became a catchphrase that is synonymous with Maggi noodles in India.  Nestle’s relationship with India goes back to 1912  when it launched in the country as The Nestle Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company while India was still under colonial rule. 

Nestle used to originally manufacture Milkmaid, a sweetened and condensed milk. After the Indian independence in 1947, Nestle realised that they were sitting on a potential gold mine and formed its Indian subsidiary in 1961 and opened its first factory in Moga, Punjab when it recognised the newly formed Indian government’s emphasis on local production.  The choice of the location was also government-dictated and steered by the socialist idealism of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who wanted Nestle to develop the milk economy of Punjab.

The two minute noodles advertising campaign became a hit with mothers and children as the ads focused on the motherly love to cook up delicious food for their children.  The message was one of liberation for women as the noodles were very easy to cook and tasty to eat which meant a very little effort on the part of the mothers.  This made Maggi very attractive among the women in India.

Maggi quickly spread like wildfire and was able to command 90% of the quick noodles market it had created within its first 25 years of launch.  When the brand launched the Me and Meri Maggi campaign (Me and My Maggi,) in its silver jubilee year in 2008, inviting people to send in their personal Maggi stories, its advertising agency Publicis Capital was deluged with more than 30,000 entries.  Even today people can hum the Maggi Maggi song which comes in the television advertisements.  India today is the biggest market for Maggi noodles in the world, despite the serious challenge mounted on the brand by rival Top Ramen. 

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

Maggi, along with the buffet of complementary products – soup mixes, sauces and cup noodles – contributes more than 20% of Nestle India’s revenue, clocked around 15 billion rupees in annual sales in 2015.

Ecosystem

Today Maggi has spawned a slew of entrepreneurs who have set up their own businesses to sell the noodles in various kinds and forms like the soupy noodles, schezwan noodles, cheesy noodles, fried noodles and a long list of other delicacies.  It is easy to find a store selling hot cooked Maggi in any corner of India be it the Himalayan ranges, the Indian Ghats, the Indian shores and any remote location.  Maggi has managed to transcend economic divide as it is enjoyed by people from all classes.  

Maggi has managed to dig its roots deep in the Indian culture and is an integral part of the Indian gastronomy scene.  Maggi managed to become an Indian ‘staple food’ after wheat and rice.  There is no doubt that the popularity of Maggi will only continue to grow in the future.  Let us know when you had your favourite bowl of Maggi noodles!

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Emerging Startup Stories

TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products

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TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products

A country like India which is influenced by diverse cultures and religions over the ages, there are multiple belief systems which also come with their own share of taboos and stigmas.  Most of these taboos are based in deep rooted ignorance and also the lack of proper educational awareness among the Indian population.  One such taboo, is the stigma surrounding menstruation, because it is treated like a societal evil. The problem is due to the old school thinking which associates menstruation with impurity.  While the stigma is one problem, another problem is the lack of means for a large number of women to purchase the necessary sanitary products because of their high price.

This is where a startup named TruCup comes into the picture.  TruCup was founded by two women entrepreneurs Shivangi Bagri and Alakshi Tomar.  Shivangi Bagri used to have to endure excruciatingly painful periods before purchasing a menstrual cup from Singapore and realised the product made her life better by easing her periods.  Being a Yoga teacher and a dive enthusiast, Shivangi’s life changed for the better after using a menstrual cup.  It was then she realised how the current market products are misleading women by convincing them to buy products which contain synthetic fabrics, fragrances and chemicals.  This motivated Shivangi to come up with the perfect menstrual cup. 

Alakshi Tomar on the other hand used to work with schools in the slums of Mumbai and it was there she saw the neglect of menstrual hygiene.  The problems she saw while working in the slums coupled with her own sedentary lifestyle during her periods made her switch to a menstrual cup. 

The two (Shivangi and Alakshi) became friends in school, and remained so even when they moved to different cities for higher education.  A chance WhatsApp conversation between Shivangi and Alakshi led to them realising they are the only two women using cups in a group of 15 friends from school.  The two figured there was an urgent need to create the perfect cup for all menstruating women.  After months of research and constant design feedback from women who used cups, they came up with a comfortable design.  

According to TruCup, one billion pads and tampons are disposed of in India each month.  Another 64% of women use cloth for sanitary purposes in India and another 95% of women do not use menstrual products due to taboo/myths surrounding insertion, virginity and hygiene.  

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

Shivangi and Alakshi set out to create demand in a market dominated by sanitary napkins and were able to expand organically to 56 cities through online and offline sales.  Women who used their products are their best promoters as they are vocal about the quality of their products and recommend it to other women.  TruCup trained more than 1600 women on menstrual hygiene, established partnerships through governmental and non governmental agencies and impacted more than 60,000 women through different projects.  Shivangi and Alakshi however have a long term goal to destigmatize the taboo surrounding menstruation and to make the public have conversations on menstrual health and hygiene.  TruCup plans to train people of gender roles and how gender roles shape the way people think, organise and know the world.  TruCup also provides training on sexual and reproductive health as well as menstruation.  Furthermore, TruCup also aims to create awareness about the environmental impacts due to unsafe disposal practices of sanitary napkins and the importance of sustainable menstrual products.

TruCup is bringing a revolution to women’s health with their community awareness programs and their top quality TruCup!

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

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The Rise Of Gig Economy In India 

India is notorious for churning out graduates from colleges at a very high rate and the education system in India is always under fire for not focusing on all round development but on marks and grades, instead.  This is a growing concern as there are not enough jobs available to accommodate all the graduates passing out from college.  However, the Indian millennial is a smart individual and when put under pressure, a millennial is capable of coming out of it better.  So, what did the Indian millennial do when there were less opportunities and did not want to be part of the rat race?  They turned to taking up gigs and that spawned an entire economy and industries to flourish.

Gig economy can be defined as a work engagement where on one side, there is a service seeker that is a consumer with a demand for a specific task, and on the other side, there is a service provider that is. a gig worker who can perform that specific task.  The gig economy was able to flourish solely because of the advent of digital platforms which were able to connect a service seeker with a provider.   More and more Indians are looking to escape from the monotony of a 9 to 5 desk job and instead take up freelance gigs which complement their skills.  

In order to put the gig economy into simpler terms, here are some examples.  An individual who likes to drive cars would consider working with Uber as a driver partner to earn some extra bucks.  An individual who is good at playing the guitar would consider performing in live shows with a band to earn extra money.  A person who is good at painting would consider selling their art for extra money.  The gig ecosystem offers the millennial an outlet to escape monotony and pursue their passion instead. 

The gig economy could only thrive when there are digital platforms which are able to connect the supply with the demand.  The digital gig economy generated a gross volume of approximately $ 204 billion from worldwide customers in 2018.  India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexible staffing after the United States of America, China, Brazil and Japan.  Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Telangana have the most opportunities in terms of growth for the flexible workers.

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Gig economy allows task ownership, convenience and flexibility.  Based on tastes and preferences, an individual can determine the number and type of projects they can work on, the quantum of their earnings, and thus, their work-life balance.  For example, an individual who took on five gigs in one month could take only three gigs the next month to balance life at their regular job.

The gig economy has a disruptive model to connect sellers and buyers for almost all kinds of skills and services.  While the size of the gig economy may seem marginal when compared to the traditional economy, it is recognized for its enormous potential with the desire of workers, specially millennials to have a flexible work schedule and the rise in the on demand consumer services.  Of In India, almost 70% corporates have already used gig workers for at least one task in 2018.

In India, a platform called Lemonop, is setting an example in the gig economy by providing a platform for students and working professionals to look for gigs of their liking.  There are plenty of other platforms like Lemonop which are slowly bridging the gap between talent and job demand.

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Entrepreneur Stories

Mukesh Ambani Enters Top Ten Billionaires List

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Mukesh Ambani Enters Top Ten Billionaires List

Mukesh Ambani is the head of India’s biggest Petrochemical and Telecommunications giant Reliance Industries Limited.  Mukesh Ambani also achieved a new milestone in his splendid career as he broke out into the World’s Top Ten Richest Billionaires list for the first time in his career.

Mukesh Ambani entered the high profile and exclusive club of billionaires as his net worth jumped to $ 64.5 billion which catapulted him to the exclusive list of the richest billionaires in the world.  Mukesh Ambani is now the ninth richest billionaire in the world as he beats Google co founder Larry Page.  Mukesh Ambani also holds the distinction of the only Asian tycoon in the exclusive list of World’s Top Ten Billionaires.

Mukesh Ambani is riding on the back of a series of investments into the company’s digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd., which Reliance claimed made the company net debt free and also proved the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the fortunes of Reliance Industries.

While a crash in oil prices caused uncertainty in a stake sale of Reliance’s oil and chemicals division, in just two months Jio managed to attract some $ 15 billion which is more than half the investment into telecom companies worldwide this year.  A report by popular equity and brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein predicted Jio is likely to capture 48% of India’s mobile subscriber market share by 2025.

Mukesh Ambani has an unmatched drive to become the biggest and the best industry leader in India as well as the world.  In India, Reliance officially became the biggest petrochemical company last year, when it surpassed government owned Indian Oil Corporation to become the country’s largest company by revenue.  Mukesh Ambani said “No power on Earth can stop India from rising higher (sic.)” during Reliance Industries latest Annual General Meeting (AGM.)

 

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