India’s richest nation is a basket case when it comes to groceries, but that’s changing, with a rising number of Indian families opting for the priciest supermarket in the country.
India’s largest retailer, Indias top-selling supermarket Vidas, said Tuesday it had doubled the prices of its three main groceries in the past six months, including its popular vegetarian and vegan options.
“Vidas has doubled the cost of vegetarian, vegan and seafood in the last six months,” a Vidas spokesperson told The Associated Press, citing data provided by Indias National Stock Exchange.
Vidas said the change will result in a 40 percent increase in sales for the quarter.
“This is the first time in Vidas history that we have raised the price of our vegetables and seafood,” the spokesperson said.
Vikes most popular vegetarian products include peas and lentils, as well as chickpeas, chickpea sprouts, peas, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, tomato, tomato sauce and tomatoes.
Vida also offers a wide range of other vegetarian and seafood products, including canned tuna, canned beef and fish, and canned chickpeasant.
“The prices of these products are all set by Indis standards and Indis customers are also responsible for choosing the right one for them,” the Vidas spokesman said.
The supermarket’s prices have been a major source of ire in India, where prices for everything from bread to rice and pulses have skyrocketed in recent years.
In 2015, Vidas had to raise prices by 50 percent for its vegetables, which prompted some consumers to boycott its stores, as India’s food shortages worsened.
A similar protest last year led to the closure of a Vida in Delhi and other Indian cities.
A year ago, Vida announced that it would sell a range of fresh fruits and vegetables for its customers, with its vegetable and seafood prices going up by 50-60 percent over the next six months.
India has the world’s largest vegetarian population with nearly 1.3 billion people, and a rising middle class has pushed up prices.
Indias largest supermarket has already increased prices for a range that includes vegetables, rice and fruits, and is expected to do so for other products in the coming months.
Indis National Stock Exchanges, a public company that regulates Indian retail stocks, said that Vidas would have to increase its prices by an additional 40 percent to keep up with rising prices in India.
“We have to continue with the pressure and increase the price at which the consumer pays to pay for their products and the supply chain,” the company’s managing director Amit Jain said in a statement.
Vides prices will be based on the price that the supermarket sells for the day the price is increased, Jain added.
Inds biggest supermarket is currently offering its customers a free trial of its free delivery service.
“As of now, the free delivery is limited to the first 500 customers and the first 10 orders,” a spokesperson for the Indias flagship supermarket told The AP.
Vias website does not offer a coupon for the free trial, but it has said customers can use the discount code, MUM.
Ind’s most popular vegetables have also been subject to a sharp increase in prices, with the price increase for chickpeacakes reaching a staggering 80 percent.
“They have seen a 20-25 percent hike in prices for chick peas and chickpeafruits,” said Amit Jains spokesperson.
The Vidas supermarket has also doubled the price for its most popular veggie product, tomato.
Vadis tomato, which is usually sold in the Indian market for about 50 rupees (US$1.23) per kilogram, has been raised to around $1.60.
A Vidas representative told The Daily Telegraph that it will sell more of its vegetables as the price has risen in India by 80 percent, but the company did not provide details of what other products the supermarket will offer to its customers.
Vadas vegetables will be priced at the same prices as its rivals, but prices for the vegetables will increase by a further 50 percent, according to a Vads spokesperson.
Indiastream.com, which tracks food prices in the world, said Vidas’ move would likely hurt its profits.
“Even though Indis prices are among the world lowest, Vads profits are already suffering because of the price hike and it is hard for the company to cover this increase with the profits it has earned so far,” Indias largest news portal, Viasdailynews.com wrote in a note to customers.
The price hike comes just days after Vidas announced it was raising prices on the country’s most widely used food item, rice, to protect it from food shortages.