Costly tomatoes push up demand for puree, ketchup: Survey

Costly tomatoes push up demand for puree, ketchup: Survey

Costly tomatoes push up demand for puree, ketchup: Survey
Steep rise in tomato prices have made people turn to 'quick-fix solutions' like puree and ketchup to keep the kitchen budget intact, says a survey.

The situation has pushed up the demand for alternatives to the kitchen staple, it said. According to the Assocham survey, about 72 per cent 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 and ginger.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 housewives in major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. The maximum impact was felt in Delhi-NCR followed Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Around 72 per cent of lower middle class families have been forced to skip using tomatoes or squeeze their budget for vegetables to keep it intact.

"The demand for tomato puree and ketchup, ginger-garlic pastes have gone up by 20-25 per cent due to high fluctuations of market prices of vegetables", Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

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 per cent within two weeks.

The local grocers have also increased stock of tomato puree/ketchup and ginger-garlic paste. A local grocer said that in the last two weeks there has been a rise in sales of products such as puree, ginger-garlic paste, bhindi masala and chole masala.

Prices of tomatoes, onions besides fruits have gone up by 50-55 per cent. Fruits have also become a luxury for the lower middle class; one spends less on buying puree/ ketchup than a kilo of fresh tomatoes. Packed food products appeared to be a better option for middle or lower income group, the survey said.

The rise in vegetable price has come as a double-shocker for the people. Vegetables are increasingly becoming 'unaffordable' as the prices have skyrocketed, particularly in metros and major cities.

As per the survey, most of the low-income families are highly dependent on vegetables to make their main meal as pulses are already out of their reach.

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.

The government has said that the spike in tomato prices due to disrupted supplies from rain-hit South India is "temporary" and rates are expected to ease in coming days.

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