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Rising prices of milk products spoil party in festive season

NEW DELHI: This Diwali, sweets may not taste as sweet as you would like as prices have soared by more than 25%, but sellers of snacks and dry-fruits are not complaining.

Prices of milk and various milk products such as ghee (butter), khoya and paneer, basic ingredients for making sweets, have risen by about 14-26% in the past one year leading to an increase in sweet prices. Leading sweet chains like Bikanerwala, Haldiram's, Nathu's and Aggarwal sweets all have increased the prices of their milk-based sweets.

Bikanerwala vice-president JN Khushwaha said: "The prices of milk-based sweets have really gone up by Re 1 to Rs 3 owing to the price rise in milk products. Prices of Bengali sweets like Rasgulla have gone up this year by 25%."

The prices of milk have gone up thrice this year in the national capital, taking the total rise to Rs 3 per litre. "The steep rise in the prices of khoya has also pushed the production cost of khoya-based sweets. The prices of sweets like khoya burfi and pinni have gone up more than 20% this year," Nathu's sweets owner Anil Gupta said.

Haldiram's, another confectionery chain with outlets across the country, also expressed similar sentiments. "The prices of most of sweets have gone up at Haldiram's. The price of a Rasgulla was Rs 6 last Diwali which has increased by Re 1 to Rs 7 this year," a consumer at one of the Haldiram's chains said.

However, the manufacturers and sellers of snacks and dry-fruits are seeing better businesses for themselves, as they are expecting the consumers to switch to non-sweet products, especially for the gift purposes.

Companies like PepsiCo, which has a snack brand Kurkure, are already marketing their products as an alternate to sweets on Diwali with special promotions marked for festivities.

However, the demand for sweets is unlikely to see any major shift, the confectioners believe, as it is a tradition to exchange sweets on Diwali and is also required in various rituals.

The khoya prices has climbed by 26% while milk and ghee have become dearer by around 14% each since last Diwali. According to the data available with the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) of the ministry of agriculture, khoya prices have jumped this year to Rs 9,000-11,400 per quintal as compared to Rs 8,000-9,000 last Diwali. The prices of ghee has also increased this year to Rs 14,600-16,600 per quintal from Rs 12,750-14,500 a year ago.

Source: Policies

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