Case Study

Maggi Noodles in India: Creating and growing the category

21 pages
October 2012
Reference: IMD-3-2296

Nestlé launched MAGGI instant noodles in India in 1983. At that time MAGGI was not a power brand in the Indian market and noodles were fairly alien to the Indian consumer. Nestlé grew MAGGI to become one of the top food brands in India and built the instant noodles from nothing to `15.8 billion by 2010, a category that was highly profitable and growing at 22% a year. The case describes the four-part approach that Nestlé used to accomplish this: adapting its product from a soupy noodle to a dry cake and formulating a taste that would appeal to the Indian palate across the entire country; strengthening its competitive position by attending to each element of the value chain – R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, sales and marketing; growing the category through product innovation and go-to-market innovation; and retaining a leadership position in the face of competition from other MNCs by continuous innovation and willingness to cannibalize its own products. The case illustrates how multinational corporations (MNCs) can capitalize on the huge opportunities available in the Indian market. While the market is potentially huge, the challenges in developing it are also daunting. Success requires persistence and entrepreneurship at multiple levels of the corporation. In the case of Nestlé, top management at its Swiss headquarters, the country head in India and the front line product champion in India all played their parts in an aligned manner. The case illustrates how an MNC can blend local responsiveness with its global strengths to create a winning position in the Indian market.

Learning Objective

The main learning objective of this case is to support mid-level and senior executives (senior executives, country managers in emerging markets, supply chain professionals, product development teams) as well as MBA participants in exploring how MNCs can best leverage the India opportunity. The case focuses particularly on the following issues: exploring how an MNC can successfully enter the India market; what an MNC must do to consolidate its gains and grow a market category; and how an MNC can maintain market share and continue to innovate in the face of increased competition. It also provides a useful vehicle to discuss the multi-level (top management, country manager and front line managers) leadership that is needed and how sustained support from top management and persistence at the country level are both essential to building a winning presence in the Indian market.

Product Innovation, Market Entry, Brand Building
Nestlé, Unilever
2008 to present
Field Research
© 2012
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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