Even before wheat prices surged to a record high on Monday, customers buying bread at kirana shops were surprised with another price hike for all types of bread and pav. The escalating effect of the heatwave on wheat production has led the Centre to ban exports. For bread, though, vendors cited rise in prices of raw materials, transportation and labour charges. In the past 18 months, the price of bread has increased by nearly Rs 10-15.
Bread is either made from wheat or maida (refined flour, which is milled without bran, refined, and bleached).
Raj Kumar, a member of the Indian Bakers’ Federation, said that the average price of a 400g bread pack is now between Rs 23 and Rs 54, depending on the brand. “The bakers have tried to be very patient, but with the other prices increasing by the day, even they had to increase their prices, especially in the last four months.” He said the basic cost of all commodities have increased, including two main raw ingredients used in bread, wheat and fats (edible oil). Even petrol prices for transportation of goods and labour charges have risen, he said, adding that this ultimately constitutes the price of bread.
Sumit Pardeshi, a baker from Malad said, “It shouldn’t be a surprise if food products cost more. Bread, which reaches the consumers after many processes, needs raw materials, mixing, baking, and transportation. The petrol/diesel prices have reached their highest ever price and even that gets counted in the final price of bread. Even we need to earn some profit at the end of the day.”
A sandwich vendor at Churchgate station said, “The prices of bread by different brands keeps increasing and it is not possible for us to change the price of the sandwich every time there is a hike because we will lose our customers. So, we usually have contracts with local bakers who we know and they give us some discounts.”
As far as wheat prices are concerned, some spot markets are hitting Rs 25,000 for 1000 kg, which is way above the government’s minimum support price of Rs 20,150. Vendors said this is one of the reasons for the increase in flour prices, which ultimately led to an increase in bread prices.
Here's what people have to say
I live in a hostel where we cannot cook, so I have to buy a packet of bread at least once every two days so that I can make a sandwich or eat it with jam. But the price of bread has been steadily rising, which has been quite an inconvenience for students and working people who depend on it for a quick affordable snack.
Teena Varghese, HR executive, Santacruz
Earlier, we used to get bread almost every day for breakfast, but because its price has been going up, our frequency of buying it has become less and we have switched to other types of breakfast like dosa or idli.
Joslin Kurian, CA student, Borivali
Bread and other maida products are harmful for health, and now with ever increasing prices, I think we all should just switch to eating healthier products like sprouts and fruits.
Aniket Pandey, IT executive, Vasai