Vegetables are increasingly becoming ‘unaffordable’ as the prices have skyrocketed particularly in metros and major cities.
Most of the low-income families are highly dependent on vegetables to make their main meal as pulses are already out of their reach, reveals the latest survey done by ASSOCHAM.
Most ready-to-eat food products are priced Rs 25 and upwards and serve 2-3 adults. From readymade vegetable cutlets, methi vadas to aloo tikkis priced appropriately to suit the middle-class pocket.
DS Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM said the sudden spurt in vegetable prices has hit the ordinary consumer, especially in metro cities. He added that consumers are now being forced to avoid fresh fruits and vegetables and turning to packaged foods. Several households are stocking up on packaged food, unable to afford fresh vegetables (fresh tomatoes priced anywhere between Rs 60 to Rs 65 a kg).
The steep rise in tomato prices has pushed the demand of ‘quick-fix solution’ like tomato puree/ ketchup which has shot up by 20-25% within two weeks.
According to the survey, about 72% of middle income group (MIG) and lower income group (LIG) find difficult to manage their household budget and squeezing families’ finances to the lowest level due to sudden rise in price of vegetables like tomatoes, onion, ginger etc, according to a country-wide survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) under the aegis of ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF).
The survey was conducted in major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Over 1,000 hosewives and 1,000 employees took part in it. The maximum impact was felt in Delhi-NCR followed Mumbai, Ahmedabad. Around 72% of lower middle class families have been forced to skip or squeezed their budgets for vegetables to keep their kitchen budget intact, reveals the survey.
“The demands for tomato puree and ketchup, ginger-garlic pastes have gone up by 20-25% due to high fluctuations of market prices of vegetables”, adds Rawat.
Tomato prices have increased to Rs. 65 per kg in Delhi from Rs. 40 per kg a month ago. The average prices of tomatoes across major cities have risen to Rs. 55/kg from Rs. 30 a month ago. Similarly, onion prices have increased to Rs. 37.52 per kg from Rs. 36 a week ago.
The survey pointed out that with prices of kitchen staples such as garlic and ginger (Rs 160 to Rs 200) and tomatoes (Rs 40 to Rs 60) increasing, the demand for their ready-to-use version has risen by 20-25% within two weeks.