Nestle Maggi Noodles Vendor India
A vendor works at a roadside Maggi noodles eatery in Ahmedabad, India, on 4 June. Nestle is planning an alternative snack to Maggi noodles in IndiaReuters

Nestle is working hard to produce an alternative snack to Maggi noodles, which were banned in India due to higher-than-permitted levels of lead content, the Economic Times reported, citing sources "who confirmed the development".

"With no clarity over when Maggi in its existing form will be back on shelves, Nestle is working on alternate snacking options," the newspaper quoted one of the sources as saying.

"Snacking is a huge opportunity which Nestle doesn't want to vacate, and it already has an existing backend for the culinary business."

The new product is expected to be in the form of ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook food, according to the report.

"We are currently looking at all possible options to ensure that we live up to our consumers' expectation," a Nestle spokesperson told the newspaper.

"We are working hard to resolve the situation and we aim to be back in the market as soon as we can. Adhering to Nestle's rigorous quality policies and testing protocol, we are confident that we will come back soon, ensuring food safety, as we always do."

India's top food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, had asked the company to recall Maggi branded products on 5 June after a number of tests found high levels of lead content in the popular noodle.

Nestle India has repeatedly said its Maggi noodles are safe for consumption, but the company pulled the product out of the market as consumers are worried. The noodle product had been contributing more than 20% of the firm's revenues in India.

The estimated sales value of Maggi stock in the market was worth some Rs 2.1bn (£21m, €29m, $33m), according to the company. It also has Maggi noodles and related products in its factories and distribution centres worth up to Rs 1.1bn.