Lettuce talk about it: Burger King says ‘no more’ to tomatoes as veggie prices squash profits in India

Image via Burger King India

Reverberations from a skyrocketing surge in vegetable prices throughout India are being felt by consumers and the food industry alike, resulting in the popular fast-food business Burger King withdrawing tomatoes from several branches across the nation. Burger King explained to customers that even tomatoes need a vacation.

Reuters reported yesterday that two of Burger King’s Indian branches announced…

“Even tomatoes need a day off…we are unable to add tomatoes to our meals.”

Burger King was citing quality issues due to the scarcity of the ripe red fruit, now becoming a luxury. Burger King, with over 400 branches all over India, follows the footsteps of McDonald’s and Subway, previous victims of the costliest food inflation the country has seen since January 2020.

The tomato crisis occurs while other vegetable prices are becoming inflated, some increasing four and a half times. Unseasonal rain is reportedly the cause, disrupting supply chains on a fresh produce level.

The Reuters report released last month revealed a 37% increase in vegetable prices in the past year, with staple items like onions, beans, garlic, and ginger, among those hit the hardest.

Amnish Aggarwal, head of private investment and finance company Prabhudas Lilladher’s research sector, mentions that if these prices persist, there is not much choice for eateries such as Burger King but to eventually raise their prices in response.

The increased raw material costs do not only stress foreign fast-food businesses in India, a market worth almost 5 billion dollars, it also poses a political challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amid his campaign for the national elections coming up next year.

To combat the crisis, the Indian government is trying to import tomatoes from Nepal and dispatching trucks selling cheaper goods across the nation. Social media imagery portrays citizens queuing to purchase these budget products from these vehicles. A fast food insider reported…

“It’s competitive and every bit helps to preserve margins…we have initiated steps like controlling other costs and introducing low cost and high margin products.”

World News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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