Unfazed by yoga guru Ramdev-led Patanjali’s anti-MNC campaign, Nestle India on Tuesday said its commitment to India will be “unwavering” with a history of over 104 years of presence in the country and described itself as “99.9 per cent” Indian.
“We have been in India for 104 years, 99.9 per cent of my company is Indian starting with me… I am proud of this heritage that we have in this country and proud of what the company has done in this country,” Nestle India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan told PTI.
Stating that the company’s consumers, suppliers, vendors, partners and shareholders are all Indians, he said: “My contribution to taxes and salaries are all to Indians and therefore I am at a loss to understand as what else must I be doing to be called as Indian.”
He was responding to a query on how the company views allegations by Patanjali through various advertisements that just like the way “East India Company enslaved and looted us, multinational companies are still doing the same by selling soap, shampoo, toothpaste, cream, powder and similar daily items at exorbitant price”.
Narayanan further said: “So, while the statements are read also by my board both India and globally in Switzerland, we do not change our views simply because of the rhetoric.”
Choosing not to get into a slanging match, he said: “Irrespective of what people might say, they have their points of view, I respect their point of view. Nestle’s purpose and value will be unwavering and its commitment to this country would also be unwavering.”
Reiterating that the “bond and relationship” with India built over the course of a century “are rock-solid”, he said “the dignity and respect that we command as an entity is something we are grateful for and we would always be grateful”.
Citing the example of the Maggi crisis, Narayanan said not even once that during the entire crisis, the company had a single incident of unrest.
Even though Nestle India shut down five factories for five months due to the ban on Maggi, it did not have a single problem at any of the plants, he added.
“No distributor left us or supplier left us and no shareholder betrayed us and that tells you that they are happy dealing with us as a company and they are happy with the trust and relationship that we have established these years,” Narayanan said further.
“If all these remain with me and I do not change my behaviour, then why should I be worried what people might say or think about my antecedents.”
On whether Nestle India will foray into ayurvedic FMCG products, which is fast becoming popular, he replied in the negative.
“The difference for Nestle is Nestle looks for nutrition and does not look at the origin or the source of the nutrition. This is a company involved in science, technology and R&D in nutrition,” he explained.
According to Narayanan, Nestle India’s aim is to make efficacious products and it does extensive trials to ensure the items are sustainable and stable and give the right kind of nutrition as far as consumers are concerned.
“I do not see our strategy changing from a primacy of nutrition, science, technology and wellness to a primacy which needs to say that something from this stream of medicine simply because it’s nice one to use. That as a company, we do not have that philosophy,” Narayanan clarified.