Dairy At Glance
Food Prices Expected To Remain Stable During Festive Seasons

Food Prices Expected To Remain Stable During Festive Seasons 
NEW DELHI: Consumers have a lot to cheer for this festival season as cakes, mithai and namkeen will not burn a hole in the pocket. Prices of sugar, milk and cooking oil are expected to remain stable during Navratras, Dussera and Diwali for the first time in five years. 
International commodity prices are at a five-year low, while the domestic market has gained from the late revival of the monsoon rain, helping calm food prices that have risen relentlessly since the severe drought of 2009. The good news for sugar consumers is that prices are falling 50 paise/kg weekly on oversupply. 
The biggest constituent in Indian kitchens during the festive period-the edible oil, used for frying and making sweets. It costs the same as it did in 2008. 
"Consumers will get best prices of edible oil this season, with record imports," said BV Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors' Association of India. Global prices of palm oil, the most world's most-consumed cooking oil are at the lowest since 2009, and poised to fall further, analysts say. India gains from this because 60 per cent of India's edible oil demand of 18 million tonnes is imported. 
Sugar barons and oilseed farmers may be worried about their profits, but customers are cheerful. "From a gloomy environment of the past few years, we are looking at a vibrant festive season. Prices of most commodities is down which will keep prices of most products stable thereby giving a push to sales. This is a win -win situation for consumers and manufacturers," said Manmohan Malik, MD and chairman, Himalya International. 
The company which sells ethnic sweets like kaju burfi, milk cake, panjeeri ladoo, kesar badam under Himalya Fresh brand name and manufactures for Reliance and Mother Dairy is looking at 20-25 per cent growth in business this year. 
The business sentiment is positive. Asitava Sen, senior director and head, food and agribusiness research and advisory, Rabo India Finance Limited, said that consumer sentiments this year is on a positive curve this year. "Sales are expected to be healthy. In the long run we have to watch the global situation, but in short term commodity prices globally are coming down," he said. 
A huge bumper soyabean crop of USA has weakened the global prices of edible oils from palm to soya. "Prices are under pressure and worldwide there is a drop in prices. Palm, soya and sunflower prices in the domestic market are weak," said Atul Chaturvedi. CEO, Agri Business, Adani Wilmar, which sells oil under the brand name Fortune. 
Consumption of sweets, fried snacks, bakery products pick up from September to December season. This usually raises prices but this year is different. Sugar prices are falling regularly, MG Joshi, managing director of National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories. "Prices of sugar are falling by 50 paise every week. It is now at Rs 27.50 a kg in Kolhapur today. We should see an increased buying by consumers," he said. 
The sugar industry is looking at a huge carry over stock of 7 million tonnes in 2014-15 season. Further, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) estimates sugar production in 2014-15 sugar season to be 25.3 million tonnes. The average domestic consumption of sugar in the country is pegged at 22 million tonnes. Bhujias, biscuits, pakoras a must have during the celebration period would also see stable prices said Udit Jain, director, Rajdhani Group a leading player in pulses in north India market. 
Akshay Sadana
Posted Date : 16/09/2014 Posted By : Admin