As if the soaring prices of vegetables, pulses, and flour were not enough, now the common breakfast bread is costlier by Rs 5 in Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand.
The Bread Manufacturers Association jacked up the price based on “the increased cost of wheat flour and other raw material”. “We aren’t part of any bread association but still forced to raise the price by 20%,” said Bonn Breads general manager (sales) Harmeet Singh. While Bonn, which has 13 bread-making units in north India, has increased the price of 400-gram loaf from Rs 25 to 30, Kitty and Cremica are going to do it in the coming days.
“The flour cost has risen to Rs 24 per kilogram from Rs 17.5 a few months ago. Diesel, fuel for our supply vehicles, has also become costlier,” said Harmeet Singh. All-India Bread Manufacturers Association president Ramesh Mago of Kitty Bread unit at Kohara said the increase had come after five years (the hike was in 2011). “Blame it on costlier maida (bleached wheat flour), sugar and ghee. Last week, the bread manufacturers reviewed our cost of labour and raw material and decided to increased the loaf price by Rs 3 to 6. Kitty will implement the decision in the coming days.”
Ludhiana bread goes to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, parts of Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Key players Kitty, Bonn, and Cremica are in a tough competition.
Ajay Bector of 35-year-old Cremica Food Industries also said a price hike was coming in a few days.
Bread lover Ashok Kumar of Jalandhar said he was shocked to find his favourite food costlier by Rs 5. “An increase of Rs 1 or 2 doesn’t pinch,” he said, “but paying Rs 5 more will sure hurt the middle class.”
Ludhiana bread industry
Key players: Kitty, Bonn, Cremica
Daily output: 8 lakh loaves
Earnings: Rs 25 crore a year
Daily flour consumption: 45 to 50 tonnes (three truckloads) in one plant