After Maggi now we have ‘Bread’ Controversy

Photo Credit:
Kumar Sunil

Kumar Sunil

Dreamer & Enthusiast

Creative. One word says it all for Sunil. A engineer, an enthusiastic and conscientious Information Technology consultant by profession, Sunil shares a special interest with entrepreneurship and lifestyle.

After Maggi, it is time for bread now; “stop eating bread as it leads to cancer; Carcinogens found in most Indian bread samples collected bread not only from the manufacturers like Britannia, Harvest Gold, but also from Dominos, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, etc!” Oh, come on! Cut the crap. But, then came the All India Bread Manufacturer’s statement about it – “we are ‘voluntarily withdrawing’ the use of the chemicals potassium bromate and iodate from bread.” I feel like duped; Oh my God – what were FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority, India) officials doing before the Centre for Science and Environment official brought this discovery into public. And, secondly, how come all of the sudden these CSE people thought of conducting research on bread; a meal that we have been eating since ages? The moment I heard about this controversy, the first thing that came to mind was – “unethical marketing strategy.”

The team behind this marketing campaign is brilliantly delivering all five essential components – love, pride, guilt, fear, and greed.

I am stumped and stunned; it is just wonderful. Be it a case of ‘Nestle’s Maggi or now bread, they have used above cited five emotions pragmatically. Isn’t it that simple – to launch your product, create fear among users and make them feel guilty of doing something wrong by using that product. Once fear and guilt are delivered, next up is greed; give them a price variation that they feel attracted to. All set for your product launch and now it is time to pull the fourth trigger i.e. pride; fill your buyer with your created pride for your product (Buy domestic products). By now, buyers are all set and they will be already in love with your product. Don’t you think the same happened with Nestle’s Maggi; one blame made this the product lose its years’ owned customers. And, another product of the same niche was launched instantly to fill the shelves. This whole bread and cancer scenario reminds me of Maggi incident – defame maggi, make people hate maggi and the launch another form of Maggi.  No doubt, this time again the same will happen; make people hate the bread they eating and then launch your own bread.

“These kinds of Non Government Organization are free to be watchdogs, but they must realize that their findings should not be targeted only at the industry. – Industrial Representatives”

The controversy had a mixed reaction. The industrial representatives are obviously not happy with the statement. The question here is – why don’t these organizations go and check top class hotel’s food who use taste enhancers or why they are not testing pesticides used in fruit and vegetable? In economics, if you want to earn unaltered higher profits, try not to invest in a business following the standards of ‘perfect competition market (large number of sellers).’ Probably, because there is no big competitor out there for these products, and in the case of products like bread, honey or maggi, we still have oligopoly market (a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers). There are some voices and according to them, denying any connection between these experiments and undue favoritism for a business, can also not be overlooked.

Anyhow, besides business interest, let us now explore the other side of this controversy. Can I ask the Food Authorities and manufacturers a question? How come none of them ever tried to find out what is in the bread, when the potassium bromate/iodate are already banned in the European Union and Canada since the 1990s? Why did manufacturers opt to use these hazardous ingredients earlier, when they were fully aware of its health consequences? Dear bread producers, “is there any use of feeling guilty now, after contaminating generation?” Isn’t all about a common interest, but not general interest? Is there any denial to the statement (underneath) of Adil Hassan, MD of Harvest Gold, and a member of All India Bread Manufacturers’ Association?

“Potassium bromate and potassium iodate are considered safe and legal and also approved for widespread use by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and even the USFDA.”