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How India Eats: Non-veg thali prices fall in Dec due to cheaper poultry

With the festive season ending, onion prices fell 14 percent in December, after increasing 56.2 percent in November. Costs of tomato, potato, poultry and other food items like edible oil, tea, sugar and milk also declined

Published: Jan 8, 2024 11:05:32 AM IST
Updated: Feb 7, 2024 11:14:53 AM IST

How India Eats: Non-veg thali prices fall in Dec due to cheaper poultry

As prices of key vegetables like tomato, onions and potato have begun to cool off in December, their impact on escalating prices of home-cooked vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis is waning off.  Prices of the three items, popularly known as TOP, have stayed volatile almost the year around in 2023 due to various factors like supply issues or weather-related stress.

In December, the average price of a non-vegetarian thali shrunk to Rs57.6, based on an analysis by Crisil. That is Rs2.8 or 4.6 percent cheaper from previous month and a decline of Rs2.5 or 4.1 percent compared to December 2022. The cost of the non-veg thali declined faster due to a 5-7 percent on-month fall in price of broilers (chicken).

How India Eats: Non-veg thali prices fall in Dec due to cheaper poultry

The decline in the cost of the non-veg thali was due to 15 percent decline in broiler prices on-year amid higher production, says Crisil. Typically, broilers (chicken) contribute 50 percent of the cost of a non-veg thali.

The average cost of preparing a thali at home is calculated based on input prices prevailing in north, south, east, and west India. The monthly change reflects the impact on the common man’s expenditure. The data also reveals the ingredients (cereals, pulses, broilers, vegetables, spices, edible oil, cooking gas) driving changes in the cost of a thali.

Also read: How India Eats: Thali heats up again in Nov, costliest in three months

With the festive season coming to an end, there was a fall of 14 percent (month-on-month) in prices of onion in December, after increasing 56.2 percent (month-on-month) in November. Tomato costed 3 percent lesser while potato prices have fallen by 4.4 percent in last month of 2023. Other commodities where prices have inched down pulses edible oil, tea, sugar and milk.

On a monthly basis, average cost of a home-cooked vegetarian thali fell 2.6 percent to Rs 29.7 in December. However, compared to same month last year, vegetarian thali cost rose 12 percent mostly due to potato and tomato prices. The rise in veg thali cost was led by substantial increase of 82 percent and 42 percent in prices of onion and tomato, respectively, says Crisil. Prices of pulses also increased 24 percent year-on-year. Pulses account for 9 percent of the veg thali cost.

How India Eats: Non-veg thali prices fall in Dec due to cheaper poultry

Retail inflation calculated based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had widened to 5.55 percent in November due to steep food prices. Barclays expects food inflation to rise to 8.3. percent in December estimating CPI inflation modestly up at 5.6 percent.

After rising sharply in November, retail prices of onions have begun cooling down and are gradually retracing back to October levels. The government extended the export ban on onions until March, and procurement through local agencies has contributed to increased availability, thereby leading to lower prices. The truckers strike has curtailed food supplies in some parts of the country, which may be reflected in the January CPI print, says Barclays.

(Forbes India's monthly series 'How India Eats' takes a look at how the average price of a food plate in India changes every month, indicating the impact on the common man's expenditure, by analysing the Indian thali.)

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