Nestle India is increasingly embracing the health platform for its new product launches. First it was Maggi Atta Noodles and now it has rolled out "low-fat and cholesterol- and MSG-free Maggi Healthy Soups that contain vegetables".
This it seems is in accordance with the global strategy of food companies who have found that the health platform gives them a leverage to accelerate growth. Apart from this, `healthy' packaged and fast foods is also a demand of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has been asking food companies worldwide to revisit their products in order to fight the increasing obesity and other health-related problems.
Nestle India today rolled out seven flavours of `healthy soups' that include maggi tomato, mixed vegetable, tomato vegetable, mushroom, chicken, sweet corn chicken and hot and sour vegetable. The product is priced at Rs 25 for 70 grams, which makes for four to five cups of soup.
"Health and wellness has always been a focus for Nestlé. Our ongoing research programme and surveys, indicating a growing awareness of healthy food alternatives, have helped to further renovate our products. Our consumer insight indicates that health and taste are defining elements in the choice of foods and is guiding the development of our product portfolio," Ms Shivani Hegde, General Manager - Food Business, said.
The company previously launched Maggi Atta Noodles and seems to have had considerable success with the product. A food and beverages research conducted by the CII - ACNielsen ORG - MARG shows that Maggi Atta Noodles which is made of whole wheat as opposed to refined wheat (maida), seven months after its launch has contributed to 11 per cent in value to the instant noodle category.
Ms Hegde added that the launch of Maggi Vegetable Atta Noodles and the soup reflects Nestlé India's efforts to provide consumers with "more value through products that are superior in taste, nutrition, health and wellness, benefiting from the strong Research and Development facilities of the Nestlé Group". She added that consumer feedback has validated their insight that consumers are looking for food options that provide `Taste Bhi, Health Bhi', their marketing catch line.
According to her, Atta noodles are targeted at consumers who want to include health and wellness in their foods, in a convenient manner. "We will continue to innovate and renovate our products in line with consumer insights," she said.
Meanwhile, on the global front, Nestle along with other food giants such as Unilever and Kraft Foods, have stepped up their focus on the health platform and have made efforts to cut down on salt, sugar and fat content in some of their products. WHO had recently indicated that food companies must improve their record in this area and do more to improve the nutritional value of their products.
Nestle SA recently cut the fat content in its Stouffer's Hot Pockets, also known as Maggi Hot Pockets, and the salt, fat and sugar in its Shredded Wheat cereal; Unilever is reported to be considering reducing salt in its Knorr soups, and has lowered the sugar content in Lipton Ice Tea.