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How India eats: Thali gets costly as tomato prices hit the roof

Forbes India 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. We will analyse the Indian thali in a monthly series called 'How India Eats'

Published: Jul 6, 2023 10:09:30 AM IST
Updated: Aug 7, 2023 11:51:11 AM IST

How India eats: Thali gets costly as tomato prices hit the roofInfographics: Kapil Kashyap

You may think that only tomato prices increased drastically in June, and that had a heavy impact on the monthly food expenditure of a common man. Well, that may not be totally correct. Prices of other essentials, which contribute to a typical Indian thali or a meal, like tur dal or pigeon peas and gram jumped by 3 percent in June. Other food items which became expensive last month were cereals, chicken and pulses.

In June, the average cost of a vegetarian thali escalated at a faster pace than a non-vegetarian meal, which includes chicken. The average cost of a vegetarian thali jumped by nearly 5 percent to Rs26.3 from Rs25.1 in May, based on an analysis by Crisil. A non-vegetarian thali cost Rs60 in June, 1.2 percent higher from Rs59.3 in the previous month.

The average cost of a thali is calculated based on input prices prevailing in north, south, east and west India. The data also reveals the ingredients (cereals, pulses, broiler poultry, vegetables, spices, edible oil, cooking gas) driving changes in the cost of a thali.

Also read: Inflation Rate in India 2023: A closer look at economic trends

How India eats: Thali gets costly as tomato prices hit the roof

Tomato prices increased drastically to almost Rs120 or more per kilogram in a few states due to extreme heat and unseasonal rains, impacting the crop and its transportation.

Also read: Why Are Indians Ordering Less Pizzas, Burgers And Fried Chicken

However, on an annual basis, cost of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis declined by 5 percent in June due to a decline in prices of vegetables, onion, potato and cooking oil. Both the ingredients—vegetables and cooking oil—account for 25 percent of the total cost of a vegetarian thali. Prices of onion and potato fell 15 percent each, and the cost of cooking oil came down by 20 percent year-on-year in June.

How India eats: Thali gets costly as tomato prices hit the roof

For a non-vegetarian thali, even broiler prices are estimated to have fallen by up to 4 percent year-on-year.

Food items, cost of which have jumped in June compared to the previous year, are wheat flour, rice and pulses, majorly impacting the overall price of the thali. Wheat flour prices spurted 9 percent year-on-year in June. The price of rice jumped 12 percent, while that of pulses climbed 8 percent year-on-year in June.

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