Sweet taste: Mithai prices likely to remain stable this festive season despite high inflation

Festive cheer: Top players in the sweets and namkeen market, including Bikanerwala, Bikaji Foods, and Haldiram’s, believe that traditional festive treats like ghee-enriched laddoos, spongy rasgulas, and besan burfis will remain budget-friendly despite increased prices of essential kitchen staples.
Manoj Verma, the Chief Operating Officer of Bikaji Foods International, was quoted by ET saying that prices are likely to remain consistent with last year, with minimal, if any, price hikes.

This comes as a relief to consumers, given the overall rise in foodinflation.
Some key ingredients crucial for traditional Indian sweets have seen a decrease in price compared to the previous year, helping to offset potential increases due to higher food inflation.
Although dry fruit prices have surged by 10-12%, palm oil, extensively used for deep frying during festivities, is more affordable this year. Additionally, milk prices have remained stable in the wholesale market, making related dairy products like mawa, chena, and ghee remain reasonably priced.

Sugar prices have experienced only a marginal increase, with a 3.63% uptick in wholesale prices compared to the previous year, according to data from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
According to the ET report, mithai manufacturers intend to absorb any minor cost increases, offering relief during the festive season, which began with Onam and Rakshabandhan in August and continues until Christmas in December.
Pankaj Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer at Group Bikano, Bikanervala Foods, affirmed their commitment to consumers by refraining from implementing any price hikes this year, despite industry challenges.

Yesterday, the Chief Economic Advisor V Anantha Nageswaran said that inflation is not a cause for worry as the central bank and the government work towards lowering it. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation hit a 15-month high of 7.44 per cent in July 2023. This is much above the Reserve Bank of India’s comfort level of 2-6%. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) did not hike the repo rate in its last monetary policy meet, but the central bank is unlikely to bring down the key rate any time soon amidst inflationary pressures.

Diwali is incomplete without soan papdi; what makes this humble dish so popular in India?

“Soan papdi is simpler to make compared to other sweets. A lot of milk sweets require elbow grease,” says Kurush F Dalal, archaeologist and culinary anthropologist

It is known around the world that Indians are big foodies. And while there are different kinds of food lovers — some like savoury dishes and others like to devour desserts — there is one particular dish that is relished across the length and breadth of the country by people possessing different palates, particularly around this time of the year.

Yes, we are talking about the humble soan papdi, which is a festive-favourite. Diwali is when people like to gorge on this sweet dish that is also exchanged as friends and family members meet each other to offer festive greetings.

At-home baking spree has retailers run out of stock

“There has been a surge in the demand of various bakeware items such as bread loaf pan, cake mould, muffin mould, pizza pan, baking mould and even barbecue skewers,” said Tapan Shah, owner of RB Shah Enterprises, which deals with branded kitchenware in Ahmedabad.

The nation wide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19 might have halted several commercial activities but have boosted certain others. The sale of bakeware has hit a new high during the period in cities such as Ahmedabad and Vadodara, with several retail players running out of stock. There is also a surge in demand for baking ingredients such as refined flour, flavouring agents and chocolate, according to retailers.

“Due to lockdown, people have more time to spend at home and most of them are fond of food. They used to get bakery items from commercial units but now they are worried about safety and hence have started making them at home,” said Tapan Shah, owner of RB Shah Enterprises, which deals with branded kitchenware in Ahmedabad.