statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 6 JULY: Due to the steep rise in prices of fruits & vegetables, over 58 per cent of middle and low income groups have switched over to pre-cooked and ready-to-eat food items to keep the kitchen budget intact, according to an Assocham survey.
The fear of bad monsoon has suddenly seen unusual rise in the prices of vegetables and fruits prices by 300 per cent from the farm to the dining table, says the survey on “Rising prices of fruits and vegetables” in which over 5,000 people took part.
Over 88 per cent of the middle income group (MIG) and lower income group (LIG) find it difficult to manage the household budget and squeezing families’ finances to the lowest level due to uncertainty of rains, according to the country-wide survey conducted under the aegis of Assocham’s Social Development Foundation (ASDF).
During the last three years, the salary of the average common man has gone up by 10-15 per cent but on the other side the prices of vegetables have gone up by 250-300 per cent.
The survey was conducted in major places such as Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Bengaluru. The maximum impact was felt in Delhi, followed by Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.
Around 82 per cent of lower middle class families have been forced to skip or squeezed their budgets for vegetables because of skyrocketing prices.
The sudden rise in vegetables prices has seriously hit the common man mainly in the metro cities.
The demand for tomato puree and ketchup is high due to fluctuations in market prices of fresh tomatoes. The main categories of packaged food are canned/dried processed food, frozen processed food, meal replacement products and condiments.
Tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, ladies finger and potato, basic ingredients in most Indian meals, are moving away from the middle class family reach as prices continue to soar, adds the paper.
Fruits have also become a luxury for the lower middle class; one spends less on buying a litre of fruit juice than a kg of fresh fruits. Packed fruit juices appeared to be a better option for them.
Altogether 86 per cent of the respondents said that rising food prices have made their life even tougher. A middle class family cannot predict their monthly household expenses for the next month because prices are unpredictable.