'Bread-winning' now tougher as bakery products get costly

'Bread-winning' now tougher as bakery products get costly

 Prices of bakery products have gone up by about ten per cent across the board due to the steep rise in wheat prices, contributing to food inflation across Karnataka.

A 16-slice bread loaf, previously selling for Rs 22, is now Rs 24 and a big pack of sandwich bread has risen from Rs 45 to Rs 48. Similarly, a pack of ten buns now costs Rs 23 while the four-in-one ‘pav’ bun is sold at Rs 11.

Durai Murugan, manager at Nilgiris on Brigade Road said the hike was the result of costlier basic ingredients in the manufacture of bread. These prices have risen by 20-30 per cent. Praveen, who works at Daily Bread on Church Street, also said three varieties of sandwich bread are now more expensive. Black Forest, a popular variety of cake, was available at Rs 580 after about ten per cent hike.

The hike in bakery products has had a cascading effect on ancilliary commercial establishments. Subway, the international sandwich chain, increased prices by Rs 10.
The Karnataka Wrapped Bread Manufacturers Association blamed the union government for the rise in wheat prices. B S Bhat, president of the association, said the steep rise in prices of wheat flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable fats and packing material, along with drastic reduction in the supply of wheat from the central government godowns to the State, resulted in the prevailing scenario.

Bhat alleged that despite a bumper harvest of wheat - about 94 million tonnes - supply has come down in the State due to the Centre’s attitude. He charged the Food Corporation of India (FCI) of forcing Karnataka’s flour millers to buy wheat in the open market. He said FCI had reduced supply to the State from 1,23,000 tonnes during July-August to just 9,800 tonnes in September-October, which is a festival season.

Bhat said the Centre had adopted a “step-motherly” attitude to Karnataka because it supplied over 1,00,000 tonnes to a predominantly wheat-growing state like Rajasthan and other “politically friendly” states like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Karnataka, although being the second largest wheat grinding state in the country, has allegedly not received enough wheat. He said parliamentarians from Karnataka had turned a deaf ear to his association’s pleas.

Girish Rao, secreatary of the association, said the Centre had permitted the export of wheat, contributing to the prices of wheat and maida going up steadily. He added that the cost of cocoa, chocolate and other imported bakery material had increased due to the falling rupee.