Food inflation may have spiked in November, meal costs suggest

Compared with November 2022, vegetarian food plates cost 9% higher last month and prices were flat for non-vegetarian meals.

Updated - December 06, 2023 10:48 pm IST

Published - December 06, 2023 07:30 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Representational file image.

Representational file image. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The cost of a typical vegetarian food plate in India surged by 10% in November on a month-on-month basis, owing to rising onion and tomato prices, while the price of a non-vegetarian meal rose 5% over October, Crisil Market Intelligence and Analytics said in its monthly report on food prices on Wednesday.

Coming ahead of the official retail inflation numbers expected next week, the report assumes significance as it suggests food inflation may have hardened in November. In October, even as the overall retail inflation eased to a four-month low of 4.87%, food costs for households were virtually unchanged from September at 6.6%.

The average vegetarian meal costs were at a three-month high of ₹30.3 in November, as per the report which calculates prices based on input costs prevailing in the different regions of the country with the monthly change reflecting the impact on the common man’s food spends.

Compared with November 2022, vegetarian food plates cost 9% higher last month and prices were flat for non-vegetarian meals. “The uptick was attributable to a substantial 58% and 35% on-month increase in onion and tomato prices, respectively, prompted by festive demand and lower output in the kharif season due to erratic rainfall conditions,” the firm said.

But onion prices were not the only trigger for higher food prices as the cost of pulses, whose sowing has been lower than last year in this Kharif season, surged 21%, higher than the 18.8% uptick recorded in the official consumer price inflation data for October.

The cost of the non-vegetarian plate increased at a slower pace than that of the vegetarian plate because of a marginal 1%-3% decline in the prices of broilers, which account for around 50% of a non-vegetarian’s food costs, the firm’s analysts reckoned.

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