The cost of a vegetarian thali fell 17% month-on-month in September. The major contribution was from tomato prices, which declined 62% month-on-month to Rs 39 per kg in September 2023 from Rs 102 per kg in August, according to the Roti Rice Rate – ratings agency Crisil’s monthly indicator of food plate cost.
Onion prices rose 12% month-on-month in September and are expected to remain firm amid the expected lower output in kharif 2023, according to the estimates of the ratings agency.
The cost of a non-vegetarian thali declined 9% month-on-month due to a 2-3% estimated month-on-month increase in prices of broiler (more than 50% share in the total thali cost).
Latest data showed retail inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), moderated in August on the back of easing food prices but remained above RBI’s comfort level. Retail inflation rose an annual 6.8% in August, slower than the 15-month high of 7.4% in July, bringing much-needed relief. Food inflation eased to 9.9% in August from 11.5% in July. Rural inflation was higher at 7%, while urban recorded 6.6%.
Cost of fuel, which accounts for 14% and 8% of total cost of vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis, respectively, declined 18% month-on-month in September as the cost of a 14.2 kg cooking gas cylinder fell to Rs 903 from Rs 1,103.
Chillies, which cooled off 31% month-on-month, too, provided a sobering effect to thali costs. The average cost of preparing a thali at home is calculated based on input prices prevailing in north, south, east, and west India. Monthly change reflects the impact on the common man’s expenditure. The data also shows the ingredients (cereals, pulses, broilers, vegetables, spices, edible oil, cooking gas) driving changes in the cost of a thali.