The increase in Aavin milk prices may necessitate another round of juggling of the household budgets, which are already under strain as a result of the rise in prices of other essential commodities.
The hike is expected to reflect on price of other popular Aavin products, particularly butter, ghee, milk khoa and ice cream. Many consumers plan to cut down on milk consumption or offset the increase by reducing spending on other commodities. Every day, the city consumes 10.5 lakh litres of Aavin milk. Though there are 32 brands, the Tamil Nadu Milk Cooperative Producers Federation run brand is the market leader.
K. Gopalan, a resident of Perambur, said his family would reduce the consumption of milk by half a litre. “We purchase 1.5 litres daily. The price hike would lead to an additional expenditure of Rs.210 per month. We will cut down the number of cups of coffee we have,” he said.
V. Rama Rao of Nanganallur said such steep increase overnight would affect the budget of many middleclass households. The State government must consider reasonable increase in the milk price.
K.Latha, a resident of Ayanavaram, said her monthly milk expenditure is Rs.900 for one litre.
“I buy milk from retail store, which charges Rs.2 more per half litre packet. I will have to pay twice that now. I am planning to buy milk powder and cut down on extra cups of tea to meet the expense,” she said.
Tea shop owners in the city also fear that the hike in the price of Aavin milk will have an indirect impact on their business.
E.Sundaram, secretary of Chennai Teashops Owners' Association, said that 90 per cent of the tea shops in the city purchase milk sold by private suppliers as there is a shortage of Aavin milk.
The private suppliers have already increased the rate by Rs.6 per litre in the past two years. In a bid to procure milk from farmers at a competitive rate, they would also increase the price by up to Rs.2 a litre.
Business is already affected by steep hike in cost of materials and labour shortage. “We have increased the cost of one cup of tea from Rs.4 to Rs.5 two years ago. We would be forced to increase it further now,” he said.
K.T. Srinivasa Raja, president, Chennai Hotels Association, said, “We get cow's milk at Rs.25 per litre and buffalo's milk at Rs.30 per litre from private producers. If there is an increase in milk marketed by private suppliers, hotels would be forced to increase the rates of coffee and tea by at least Re.1. We prepare 8 cups of coffee or tea using one litre.”
Cost of milk sweets would go up by at least Rs.20 per kilo as five litres of milk are required for one kg of such sweets.