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The #QualityITCFoods Blogger Meet: Yippee, A Recap

In my list of soul foods, Maggi would be in the top 5. And I use the word Maggi not as the Nestlé brand but as that descriptor (like Xerox is synonymous with photocopy) it has become for those soft soupy noodles you can slurp. Then I remember that June debacle that makes me snatch my hand back and deprive myself of a food I enjoyed. The whole lead issue didn’t just put me off Maggi but also all other noodles in that category.

And today’s meet up was all about that. Well, not exactly. The meet up today was all about Yippee, it’s fight to stay in the market and taking the number one position held for so long by Maggi. When I turned up at ITC Gardenia today I didn’t know what to expect. As I caught up with blogger friends I looked around and figured the meet would be about all the various packaged foods ITC makes.

That’s Sid, Vidya and Bhawna with me there. I’ve linked them so, check out their blogs folks!

The Cutting Chai Stall

Rajesh V L, the CEO of ITC Foods took the stage and gave an introduction to ITC Foods, how it started, their ethic and beliefs, the various products and brands, and some up-coming products. And I was impressed, the company seems to be quite transparent, they seem to be giving importance to sustainability and also seem to be doing work in the causes space. (I’ve used ‘seem’ a lot, but after all I didn’t really see it, just heard it. 😀 )

One thing in his talk that really stood out for me was their work on e-Choupals. This program really gives back to the farmers (who are our lifeline) by giving them access to the internet and bringing information to their fingertips. An example Rajesh gave was that a farmer now has access to check the rates of his vegetables even before he sets out for the mandi. So now, he can avoid having to make a distress sale after landing up there. A program that provides farmers with up-to-date marketing and agricultural information sounds empowering.

Rajesh was followed by Kavita Chaturvedi who is the Head of Marketing. She has been a part of the Yippee noodles journey since day 1 and that was the story she shared. She talked about how research started on the noodles. In line with Rajesh’s earlier talk, Kavitha talked about the search for that quality thing with a difference.

She recounted stories of how they came about their top three USP’s. The round block of noodles, their non-stickyness and the masala with veggies. Frankly, this won me over. For years with Maggi I have hated breaking the block, it shortens the tendrils of noodles and reduces the slurpyness. It’ll be nice not to have to break the block. And have cold noodles still flowing and not just become one gooey mess like Maggi does.

I’ve been a Maggi loyalist until now but after today, I’m ready to give Yippee noodles a chance and their Yippee 4 in 1 pack in the hamper will helping this I think. 🙂

Kavita also talked about other aspects of Yippee, their vigorous testing in their Japanese technology factories (over 800 tests are done everyday and 66 on water alone), their hygiene standards and their approach to the Maggi debacle. She talked about their approach of transparency and being up front, and shared Sunfeast’s You Ask We Answer website and videos that were ITC’s answer to the Maggi fiasco.

Q&A came after, moderated by Archana Doshi founder of Rajesh V L came back to stage to patiently answer the many questions that were raised on quality of ingredients, safest and freshest sourcing, the various types of fats, etc. The answering had me impressed with how he stuck to facts and called things as they were. But then again, never judge a book by its cover. 😀

After all this Yippee talk, Master Chef Kamlesh Joshi took stage and demonstrated the making of Khow Suey using Yippee noodles. The recipe was an interesting one and since I tasted it at lunch, I’d definitely like to try it sometime.

There was a cook-off that followed that required that each team make a dish with Yippee noodles using the array of ingredients provided. I felt like I was at one of those Australian Masterchef episodes where people went about making something with the ingredients provided. Our team came up with a Chatpata Yippee Pasta and came third. The first prize was won by the Team that made Yippee Gol-Gappas. I missed tasting them, but the three Chef-Judges couldn’t seem to stop eating them! 😛

The Ingredients

The Sunfeast Smashers (one of the first things we did was break a bowl 😀 )

Chatpata Yippee Pasta

The Three Chef Judges – Prashant Joseph, Yogesh Dutta, Kamlesh Joshi

Finally after all that food talk and cooking lunch was served and it was quite a spread. I enjoyed the Khow Suey, gosht and Chicken in Wine sauce. Didn’t have place for anything else as there was a big spread for dessert. And I ate one of each. 😀

Dessert Spread

Khow Suey

The ITC Foods Display

I even brought a bottle of tiramisu back for Che along with a hamper. 🙂

Tiramisu in a Jar

The ITC Hamper

It was a fun day – meeting friends, getting to know more about ITC Foods and having some yummy food. Thanks are due to the guys over at ITC Foods for it all and the guys at ITC Gardenia who made it all possible.

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