Swetha, an IT professional for whom Maggi instant noodle was an ideal option during morning rush hour is looking for a quick breakfast substitute.

With the brand being pulled off the shop shelves after a number of State governments banned it last week, Swetha believes the traditional string hoppers – semiya or sevai could save the day, “I would choose semiya upma and sevai even though they are not substitutes for Maggi, at least they are healthy.” Dishes made of these wheat or rice based vermicelli, which are considered South Indian noodles, is gaining popularity post Maggi fiasco.

Overall, noodle sales have taken a hit say retailers. The Tamil Nadu government banned Maggi, along with two other brands on June 4, after it was found to contain higher than permissible levels of lead.

Other states that imposed the ban include – Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Maharashtra, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. Other than India, Bahrain and Nepal have banned the import and sale of Nestle’s Maggi noodles from India.

A store manager at a leading departmental store chain who did not want to be quoted said that though they stock a wide range of instant noodle brands including – Top Ramen, YiPPee, Foodles, Knorr, Tasty Treat, Joymee – sales of noodles irrespective of brands, has dropped by 90 per cent in the past four days despite discounts and offers.

Though some people seem to prefer noodle brands that have passed the test conducted by the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration, according to the store manager there hasn’t been any visible increase in the sale of that brand. “People have become health conscious and have started preferring semiya or sevai,” he added. Saikrupa Baskaran, a Chartered Accountant , said she is seeing semiya as an alternative for instant noodle, as it is healthy and easier to make.

A departmental store manager, said customers have stopped buying noodles altogether. “We have stocked instant oats in place of noodles as people are shifting to nutritious alternatives,” he said.