From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Company typeFood
FoundedOctober 2, 1798; 225 years ago (1798-10-02)
1884; 140 years ago (1884)
FounderJulius Maggi

Maggi (German: [ˈmaɡi] , Italian: [ˈmaddʒi]) is an international brand of seasonings, instant soups, and noodles that originated in Switzerland in the late 19th century. The Maggi company was acquired by Nestlé in 1947.


Early history[edit]

Former production building in Kemptthal (Zürich)

In 1869, Julius Maggi (1846–1912) took over his father's mill business in Kemptthal, Switzerland. Under his leadership, the business developed into one of the pioneers of industrial food production, with the aim of improving the diet of working-class families through better nutrient supply and faster preparation.[1][citation needed]

In 1882, at a meeting of the Swiss "Common Good Society" (Gemeinnützigen Gesellschaft), the doctor and factory inspector Fridolin Schuler spoke about the miserable nutritional situation of the factory workers: women workers no longer had enough time to cook for their families; cold meals or alcohol often replaced warm meals; meals were served in factory canteens and were cheap but not sufficiently nutritious. The consequences were malnutrition, stomach diseases, and high infant mortality. Schuler advocated for diets based on high-protein, easily digestible pulses/legumes. He demanded that such meals should be offered to the working class in a convenient form for quick preparation and at a low price. The society turned to the Maggi company, among others.

Julius Maggi experimented for two years with different methods of mechanical and chemical processing of legumes and different mixtures. The results were presented to the representatives of the Society on 19 November 1884. They approved the results and signed a contract to exclusively recommend Maggi's legumes for a period of three years. Maggi, in turn, guaranteed a fixed price and regular product controls for sales in Switzerland. However, the Society was accused of representing the interests of a private company. The Maggi company, on the other hand, had difficulties challenging other suppliers of soup flour on the market, despite support from the Society.

Since 1884, Maggi has been offering flour made from protein-rich legumes, which can be cooked quickly by being roasted beforehand. Maggi was the first to bring such legume meals to the market.[2]


5000-franc share of the Fabrik von Maggis Nahrungsmitteln, issued July 1, 1908

In 1885, Maggi brought nine industrially produced types of legume flour onto the market. In 1885, he received the "First Class Diploma" at the Swiss Culinary Art Exhibition in Zurich. In 1886, Maggi produced acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein product industrially for the first time, producing the new "Maggi seasoning".[3] The product combined with legume meals to make a ready-made soup as competition for the meat extract invented by Justus von Liebig.[2] The first warehouses and branches abroad were founded, including Maggi GmbH in Singen, Germany in 1887. In order to obtain additional capital for the planned further expansion, the company was converted into a public limited company in 1889 with Julius Maggi as general director. In 1908, Maggi brought the bouillon cube onto the market,[4] replacing the bouillon concentrate capsules.

Maggi introduced extensive social benefits that were unusual for the time, such as a canteen, workers' housing, company health insurance, widow's and old-age pensions, and no work on Saturdays, introduced in 1906. In a strike at the Singen plant in 1907, Maggi successfully mediated, accused the management of having lost "contact with the workforce" and suggested the establishment of a "workers' committee", an early form of the works council. In 1912, Maggi signed the first collective agreement in the German food industry.[5][6]

Maggi milk pasteurization factory in France

Maggi lived mainly in Paris from 1902 and led the company to great success with new products in France. The sales of pasteurized milk by the "Société laitière Maggi" amounted to 60 million liters in 1912,[7] and the sales of bouillon cubes with the name KUB amounted to 6 million units a month in 1912.[8]

Shortly after Julius Maggi's death in 1912, the company was converted into a holding company, the Allgemeine MAGGI-Gesellschaft.

In 1933 Maggi opened a new factory for sauce production in Le Blanc-Mesnil (France); In 1940, New Milford in the USA followed as the eleventh and last factory to be founded abroad[9]

World Wars[edit]

During World War I, Maggi was mistaken as a German company in France and accused of spying; it had to fight in public media and in court to correct this image. In 1919, the French branch was renamed SISA (Société industrielle des spécialités alimentaires).[10]

During World War II, however, the German branch of Maggi allowed itself to be coopted into Nazi politics.[11] In 1938 Maggi Berlin and in 1940 Maggi Singen were awarded the title of "National Socialist Model Company," after the company had already had it officially certified in 1935 that "all shareholders" as well as "all managing directors, authorized signatories, and authorized representatives were of Aryan descent."[12] This servility of Maggi towards National Socialism is ostensibly explained by the economic interest in doing business with state or municipal institutions. In order to get such orders, Maggi had to have it confirmed again and again that it was an "Aryan company."[13] Maggi received an exclusive supply contract for the Wehrmacht, for which it even produced a special soup.[14] Two-thirds of Maggi production went directly or indirectly to the Wehrmacht during the war years. The company was dependent on foreign labor during these years. The number of forced laborers from Eastern Europe varied between 170 (end of 1943) and 48 (May 1945).[15]

After World War II, the German Maggi branch was saved from confiscation and dismantling only due to the intervention of the highest authorities of the Swiss Confederation in Bern and with the support of the Red Cross. The merger with Nestlé in 1947 also served to "de-Germanize" the image of Maggi.[16]

Recent history[edit]

Maggi in Singen
Maggi factory in Singen in front of the Hohentwiel

In 1947, following several changes in ownership and corporate structure, Maggi's holding company merged with the Nestlé company to form Nestlé-Alimentana S.A., currently known in its francophone home base as Nestlé S.A.[17]

The 1947 Maggi-Nestlé merger was not without its difficulties. There was strong animosity between the new management and the workforce. The negotiated wage at Maggi in Singen was questioned. Ludwig Erhard, who knew the then general director Riggenbach well, stated that "its economic policy would falter if Maggi continued to pay such high wages."[18] The transfer of the commercial department from Berlin to Frankfurt in 1949 also triggered great skepticism among the workers' council.[19]

The merger of Nestlé and Maggi took place over a period of several years and with the help of a specially created company called SOPAD (Société de produits alimentaires et diététiques). Completely different product ranges and distribution mechanisms had to be reconciled but ultimately proved complementary.[20] As a new production site in Germany (in addition to Singen/Hohentwiel), Lüdinghausen in Münsterland was put into operation in 1964. In 1992, a production site was opened in Teutschenthal near Halle (Saale).[21]

In 2002, Nestlé sold the Maggi site in Kemptthal, together with the flavoring production, to Givaudan.[22]


"The Maggi specialties benefit every household" advertising, c. 1900

By 2020, as part of the Simply Good initiative, the domestic Maggi range is to be geared more towards well-known and healthier ingredients and the salt content to be reduced.[23]



Image of Maggi Bouillon gras
Maggi Bouillon gras

The bouillon cube or Maggi cube is a meat substitute product that was introduced in 1908.

In Germany, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Bénin, Gambia, Sénégal, Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania and parts of the Middle East, Maggi cubes are an integral part of the local cuisine. In Haiti and throughout Latin America, Maggi products, especially bouillon cubes, are widely sold with some repackaging to reflect local terminology.[24]

Maggi advertisement in Senegal

Seasoning sauce[edit]

In Mexico, German-speaking countries, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland and France, "Maggi" is still synonymous with Maggi-Würze (Maggi seasoning sauce), a dark, soy sauce-type hydrolysed vegetable protein-based condiment sauce. In Spain it is sold as Caldo Maggi, and in Mexico it is sold under the name Jugo Maggi.[25]

There are a total of nine different formulations,[26] which differ between nations and/or regions:

  • Older German and Swiss Maggi use acid-hydrolyzed soy protein.[27] Around 2006, the German product was reformulated to use enzyme-hydrolyzed wheat protein, which contains less salt. The other ingredients are monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, and food flavoring.[28] European versions have generally similar taste profiles.[29] All other versions described below are also wheat-based.
  • The Chinese version, which is very common in North America, adds no MSG. Its flavor is described as more robust than the Swiss original.[29]
  • The Mexican Jugo[25] is darker and thicker.[29]
  • Two Filipino versions exist. Maggi Savor is similar to other versions, while Maggi Savor Calamansi adds a pronounced citrus tartness.[29]

In the German, Dutch, and Danish languages, lovage has come to be known as Maggi herb (Ger. Maggikraut, Du. maggikruid or maggiplant, Da. maggiurt), because it has an aroma similar to Maggi sauce, although lovage is not present in the sauce. This flavor of lovage is due to sotolon, whereas hydrolyzed vegetable protein contains 5-ethyl-sotolon (EHMF, "Maggi lactone").[30]


Boiled Maggi instant noodles with tea, served in India

Maggi instant noodles are popular in Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and India and are synonymous with instant noodles in most of these countries. Nestle has a 39% market share in Malaysia,[31] and had 90% market share in India prior to a nationwide ban by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The ban was later lifted, but market share diminished to 53%.[32] In Malaysia and Singapore, fried noodles made from Maggi noodles are called Maggi goreng. Maggi Instant noodles are branded as "Maggi 2 Minute Noodles" in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand[33] and India.[34]

In India, Maggi Masala noodles carry a green dot, meaning they are specifically formulated to serve vegetarians. However, Maggi chicken noodles carry a red triangle, indicating that they are not vegetarian.[35] This special formulation is not available in other countries, unless imported from India.

In the Philippines, localized versions of Maggi instant noodles were sold until 2011 when the product group was recalled for suspected Salmonella contamination.[36][37] It did not return to market, while Nestle continues to sell seasoning products including the popular Maggi Magic Sarap.

Recipe mixes[edit]

Recipe mixes or so-called Fixes were introduced in Germany in 1974. The product offers the consumers an idea and a recipe to cook with two or three fresh ingredients and a Maggi mix. A complete step-by-step recipe is given on the back of the package. These products were originally launched in Germany, where they became very popular, and some Western European countries. In the 1990s, recipe mixes were introduced in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Poland (under the Winiary brand), where they became a big success. Nowadays, the portfolio of recipe mixes offers consumers more than a hundred recipe ideas across different European countries.


Heyne Verlag advertising[edit]

Heyne Verlag placed Maggi soup adverts in the body of various fictional works, including the German edition of Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett switched publishers upon learning of this practice.[38]

"Yo" lawsuit[edit]

In 2008, Maggi's Indian branch launched two flavors for a new "Cuppa Mania" product line, named "Masala Yo" and "Chilli Chow Yo". Moods Hospitality, which owns the "Yo! China" Chinese restaurant chain, sued Nestle for copyright infringement; Moods Hospitality initially won but Nestle appealed and was found to be not infringing in 2010, on the basis that the products were not similar enough for consumers to be confused.[39][40][41]

Safety concerns[edit]

In May 2015, food safety regulators from Barabanki, a district of Uttar Pradesh, India reported that samples of Maggi 2 Minute Noodles had unexpectedly high levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG), as well as up to 17 times the permissible limit of lead. This finding led to multiple market withdrawals and investigations in India and beyond.[42]

Nestlé maintained that the levels of MSG are naturally occurring, but agreed to remove the "No added MSG" label.[43] Nestlé also questioned the reliability of the lead test, as no lead issues were found by health agencies in Singapore and the US. Bombay High Court agrees that the test may be unreliable, and ordered a re-test in three separate laboratories. The noodles were found safe in October 2015.[44] In addition, Nestlé insisted that testing should be done on the product as it is eaten (as opposed to testing the "tastemaker" flavoring powder alone),[45] but this argument was not accepted by the court.

False advertising[edit]

Nestlé has faced criticism for its advertising not adhering to marketing regulations in developed countries, and for making misleading claims in developing countries. In October 2008, Nestlé aired a commercial meant for Bangladeshi television on British TV. The advert made false claims that the noodles are rich in protein and calcium and would "help to build strong muscles, bone, and hair". The British Advertising Standards Authority stated that the advertisement did not abide by the new EU consumer protection legislation, by which advertisers have to provide proof of health claims. The product in question also did not meet British FSA thresholds for "rich in protein and calcium".[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Julius Maggi: The man who gave the brand its name". Hindustan Times. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b "History of Maggi". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ Reineccius (1994). Source Book of Flavours. Springer. p. 140.
  4. ^ Die Erfindung des Suppenwürfel von Maggi. In: Land der Erfinder – Das Schweizer Magazin für Innovationen. 2009.
  5. ^ Franz Höning: Der erste Tarifvertrag in der Maggi vor 100 Jahren – 1912. In: Singen Jahrbuch 2013. ISBN 978-3-933356-70-3, S. 213–214.
  6. ^ Beim ersten Treffen der Tarifparteien erklärte Julius Maggi: „Die Ziele der Gewerkschaft decken sich mit unseren Zielen. Wir betrachten die Gewerkschaften als Pioniere des Kulturfortschritts ... Die Leitung des Maggi-Unternehmens steht nicht auf dem veralteten, patriarchalischen Standpunkte, absoluter Herr im eigenen Hause sein zu wollen. Wir haben von jeher in unseren Arbeitern und Beamten nicht Maschinen, sondern Mitarbeiter an einer gemeinsamen Aufgabe erblickt ...“ (zitiert bei Franz Höning: Der erste Tarifvertrag in der Maggi vor 100 Jahren – 1912. In: Singen Jahrbuch 2013. ISBN 978-3-933356-70-3, S. 213)
  7. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, S. 57. Maggi besiegte in Frankreich die „weiße Gefahr“ (französisch: „Péril blanc“) – so nannte man den Kindstod durch infantile Cholera nach der Einnahme von nicht pasteurisierten Milchprodukten (dazu: Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, S. 53 ff.)
  8. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, S. 68.
  9. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, S. 107.
  10. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, S. 89–97, sowie die von der Société laitière Maggi 1921 herausgegebene Schrift Comment ont échoué les manœuvres pour la destruction des Sociétés Maggi et Kub, soit par la violence, soit par les moyens juridiques, août 1914 à fin 1920. Impr. centrale de la Bourse, Paris.
  11. ^ "Swiss firms practiced forced labour in Nazi era". SWI 29 December 2001. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  12. ^ Brigitte Matern: Geschmeidig, nüchtern, hemmungslos: Schweizer Unternehmen im Nationalsozialismus [Smooth, Sober, Uninhibited: Swiss Companies under National Socialism.] IN: WOZ. No. 51, December 18, 1997.
  13. ^ "...sometimes this, sometimes that party branch or subsidiary organization of the NSDAP inquired and requested information about the character of the company on extensive questionnaires. General Director Schmidt finally went to a notary and had an affidavit drawn up on October 1, 1935." In: Willy Buschak: Die Geschichte der Maggi-Arbeiterschaft 1887–1950 1989, p. 115.
  14. ^ Joachim Drews: Die "Nazi-Bohne" : Anbau, Verwendung und Auswirkung der Sojabohne im Deutschen Reich und Südosteuropa ; (1933–1945). Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-7513-X, p. 183, and Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, p. 109.
  15. ^ Willy Buschak: Die Geschichte der Maggi-Arbeiterschaft 1887–1950 [The History of the Maggi Workforce 1887–1950.] 1989, pp. 130–132; there also precise statistics on Italian military internees and civilian workers.
  16. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, p. 109.
  17. ^ "FOOD HISTORY: History of Maggi brand of Nestlé". Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  18. ^ Willy Buschak: Die Geschichte der Maggi-Arbeiterschaft 1887–1950. 1989, S. 156.
  19. ^ Willy Buschak: Die Geschichte der Maggi-Arbeitserschaft 1887–1950. 1989, p. 157ff.
  20. ^ Monique Pivot: Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub. 2002, pp. 110–111.
  21. ^ Robert Hufnagel, Helmut Dienert: Die Maggifabrik in Singen am Hohentwiel. 1997, pp. 24 and 28.
  22. ^ André Müller (15 August 2019). "Maggi-Areal in Kemptthal: The Valley is slowly taking shape". Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  23. ^ "▷ Simply Good: Maggi bringt schmackhaftere und gesündere Alternativen in die Küchen | Presseportal". 28 April 2019. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  24. ^ Albala, Ken (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. p. 166. ISBN 9780313376276. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Seasoning Sauce | Maggi® | Brands & Offers | Nestlé Recipes". Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Maggi Seasoning: What It Is & How to Use It | Cook's Illustrated".
  27. ^ "Maggi Seasoning Sauce". CooksInfo.
  28. ^ "MAGGI Würze 125 g". (in German).
  29. ^ a b c d Makalintal, Bettina (28 September 2022). "Maggi Seasoning Is Best When It's (Kind of) a Secret". Eater.
  30. ^ Blank, Imre; Schieberle, Peter (July 1993). "Analysis of the seasoning-like flavour substances of a commercial lovage extract (Levisticum officinale Koch.)". Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 8 (4): 191–195. doi:10.1002/ffj.2730080405.
  31. ^ "Noodles in Malaysia". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Noodles in India". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  33. ^ "MAGGI 2 Minute Noodles Chicken – 2 Minute Noodles – MAGGI Australia". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  34. ^ "MAGGI 2 Minute Noodles". Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Maggi controversy: It's a wake-up call for Indian consumers | columns". Hindustan Times. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  36. ^ "Maggi noodles recalled over salmonella scare". ABS-CBN News. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  37. ^ "Nestle recalls Maggi noodles due to salmonella contamination". ABS-CBN News. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  38. ^ "HEYNE COVERS". 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  39. ^ "The significance of "Yo!"". The myLaw Blog. 24 December 2011. Archived from the original on 11 March 2017.
  40. ^ Bhushan, Ratna (6 June 2008). "Yo! Maggi Cuppa Mania lands in a soup". The Economic Times.
  41. ^ "Nestlé triumphs in a dispute over the use of exclamation 'Yo!'".
  42. ^ Najar, Nida (5 June 2015). "Nestlé Pulls Maggi Noodles From Shelves Across India". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  43. ^ "We Will Remove No MSG from the Maggi Noodles Label: Nestles Global CEO – NDTV Food". 6 June 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  44. ^ "Maggi clears Bombay HC mandated lab tests: [Nestle] India". The Indian Express. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  45. ^ Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (5 June 2015). "Nestlé's defense: It is only real (lead-free) Maggi when the noodles and masala are boiled in water". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  46. ^ "Nestle criticized for child health claims – Business News, Business – The Independent". Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2016.

External links[edit]