ZURICH (Reuters) - The head of Nestle’s NESN.VX Asian business is hoping to restore revenue in India within three years to levels preceding the recall of its Maggi instant noodles from the market last year over a health scare, newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag reported.
India banned Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles after local regulators in May said they found unsafe levels of lead in some packages sold at roadside stalls.
In August, an Indian court ruled in favour of Nestle to overturn the ban, but demanded the snack be tested again for safety before it can go on sale again.
Nestle, whose fourth-quarter sales in India fell more than a fifth, according to the paper, contends the noodles were safe, but ordered a recall that cost the company about 66 million Swiss francs ($66.68 million).
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper, Nestle’s Wan Ling Martello said all five factories that produce the noodles were doing so again, although not all flavors had returned to Indian shelves.
A complete recovery of Indian revenue could take around three years, she said, citing experiences with similar crises elsewhere.
“But I‘m pushing my team so it doesn’t take that long,” she told the newspaper.
She said Nestle was investing in TV commercials and an online campaign to restore faith in Maggi products.
($1 = 0.9898 Swiss francs)
Reporting by John Miller; editing by Susan Thomas