Is it Safe to Eat Maggi?

Nestlé under fire - Africans should eat less Maggi

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Africa is the largest market for the Nestlé product. But the salty seasoning is increasingly becoming a health problem there.

“I always use Maggi”, explains the saleswoman Philomène Tchoffo at the Marché Central in the city of Douala in Cameroon. "Maschi", as Maggi is pronounced here, is selling well. "Ça passe beaucoup sur le marché."

Maggi, that is the liquid Maggi aroma in Africa, as we know it from the menage on every restaurant table in Switzerland. Even more popular in Africa are the “Cube Maggi” - the Maggi cubes that are part of every meal.

120 million Maggi cubes per day

Whether sauces, prawns or the Cameroonian national dish Ndolé: Philomène Tchoffo spices everything with Maggi. And she's not the only one. 120 million Maggi cubes end up in Africa's cooking pots - every day.

Africa is the largest market for Nestlé's Maggi products. The food multinational Maggi produces in six African countries, including Cameroon. Gaétan Teje sits on the fourth floor of a skyscraper in Douala.

He is responsible for Maggi in Central Africa. The fact that the brand was able to assert itself in Africa has primarily to do with local cooking habits, he says. People eat very spicy on the continent. Maggi therefore offered an alternative to the laborious mortar of spices at an early stage.

Missionaries had maggi cubes with them

The Maggi cube is cheap, and cooking with it is quick. Missionaries are said to have had it in their luggage. And with sometimes aggressive advertising - many markets in Africa are held in yellow and red - Nestlé managed to make seasoning an indispensable part of the kitchen.

But Nestlé is afraid of an image problem, explains Gaétan Teje: "Maggi is made a scapegoat when people from the health sector claim that Maggi is not healthy." Because the problem is not Maggi, but the very salty cuisine in West and Central Africa.

A lot of salt is eaten in many places in Africa. This promotes cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The World Health Organization warns that they are on the advance in Africa.

This is also because Africans move less and less and gain weight. The WHO is working with governments to develop strategies that include less salt in the diet.

No more than five cubes per meal

According to the Cameroonian Heart Foundation, 40 percent of the population suffer from high blood pressure. The main reason is too much salt, according to the foundation. Now Nestlé wants to reduce the salt content at Maggi and has launched a campaign itself: The group recommends only five Maggi cubes per meal.

The beginnings of Maggi in Switzerland

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Maggi was founded at the end of the 19th century by Julius Maggi, the son of an Italian immigrant, in Kemptthal, Zurich. Later a work was added in Singen, Baden. In 1886 the Maggi wort came on the market. The stock cube followed in 1908. The brand has been part of the Nestlé Group since 1947.

But Nestlé often bites granite when it comes to Cameroonians, according to Nestlé representative Teje. In fact, the work of convincing them doesn't seem easy.

Faysal Bouba also sells Maggi products at the Marché Central in Douala. He heard that Maggi should be used sparingly. But that doesn't work for Africans, he is convinced: “The whites measure everything. Even the sugar for the coffee! We Africans we shovel in as much until it is sweet enough. Or salty enough. "

Certain Cameroonians would now even claim that Maggi was banned. But the young man doesn't believe that. For him, Nestlé has a very high level of credibility: "I trust Nestlé, it is one of the best brands." And so in the future, too, millions and millions of Maggi cubes will end up in Africa's cooking pots every day.

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  • Comment from Udo Gerschler (UG)
    The Africans who move don't have the problem; it is the same with Europeans.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from M. Roe (M. Roe)
    I don't know African cuisine, but I've always had the impression that Africa connoisseurs say the food is good. But I can not imagine at all that a meal with Maggi cubes can be something good. I season with spices.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Edgar Dubach (Shikamoo)
    Aha. The "Matschi" dice should now be to blame. The nutrition (paternalistic) lobby recognized the culprit. And if nobody in Europe believes in the bogeyman salt anymore, we export the fairy tale to Africa, they might believe it ..?! The thesis is no longer tenable. Salt is essential, regardless of the source. And if you sweat a lot, you need more of it. All these health threats and recommendations annoy me, including sugar, fat and now probably also salt taxes.
    Agree agree to the comment

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