Vegetarian food plate costs increased 7% in March: CRISIL

April 04, 2024 07:23 pm | Updated 07:58 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Shoppers purchase packets of vegetable oil at a supermarket in Mumbai

Shoppers purchase packets of vegetable oil at a supermarket in Mumbai | Photo Credit: STAFF

Vegetarian food prices rose 7% in March, the same pace as February, thanks to a continuing spike in prices for onions, potatoes and tomatoes as well as rice and pulses, according to rating agency CRISIL’s monthly indicator of food plate costs.

The metric, based on the average cost of preparing a thali at home is calculated based on input prices prevailing in north, south, east and west India, is a yardstick to assess consumer food inflation trends ahead of official retail inflation numbers that are released subsequently.

Non-vegetarian plate costs dropped 7% in March, compared with a 9% decline in February, owing to a nearly 16% drop in broiler prices on the high base of last year, the firm said in its report on Thursday. However, in absolute terms, the cost of a home-cooked non-vegetarian food plate, in which broiler accounts for 50% of expenses, rose to a three-month high of ?54.9.

“The cost of the vegetarian thali increased due to a surge of 40%, 36% and 22% on-year in prices of onion, tomato and potato, respectively, due to lower arrivals of onion and potato and low base of last fiscal for tomatoes,” said CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics.

Amid lower arrivals, the prices of rice and pulses which account for 22% of the cost of a representative home-cooked meal, rose 14% and 22%, respectively. Rice and pulses prices had risen 14% and 20%, respectively, in February on a year-on-year basis. In absolute terms, a vegetarian meal’s cost slipped to a nine-month low of ?27.3.

On a month-on-month basis, the cost of the vegetarian thali declined 1% while that for a non-veg food plate rose 2%. Potato prices rose 6% from February levels due to crop damages, while prices on onion and rice remained flat. Broiler prices rose by an estimated 5% from February due to rising feed costs and higher demand amid Ramadan, the agency said.

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