By India Today Business Desk: Fast food chain McDonald’s has made the decision to remove tomatoes from its burgers and wraps in various locations across India.
The move comes as the country experiences supply shortages and concerns over the quality of tomatoes, which have reached record-high prices.
In certain regions, wholesale prices of tomatoes have surged by over 300% within a month, reaching Rs 160 rupees per kilogram this week.
Retail prices remain even higher, causing many consumers to reduce their tomato consumption.
The government has blamed higher tomato prices on production shortages after a period of heatwaves, followed by monsoon rains. Erratic distribution and supply have made the situation worse and it has also impacted the prices of several other vegetables.
“Despite our best efforts, we are not able to get adequate quantities of tomatoes which pass our stringent quality checks,” read notices posted in two McDonald’s stores in New Delhi, the capital. In Noida, too, McDonald’s outlets have put up similar notices.
“We are forced to serve you products without tomatoes.”
McDonald’s blames quality issues
McDonald’s, however, has cited quality issues behind its decision to take tomatoes off menu items like burgers and wraps.
In a media statement, Conaught Plaza Restaurants, which runs around 150 outlets as McDonald’s franchisee in India’s north and eastern regions, said the decision was due to “temporary” seasonal issues.
Meanwhile, Westlife Foodworld, the McDonald’s franchisee for India’s western and southern regions, said there were “no serious tomato-related issues”.
Over the past few days, tomato prices have seen a sharp increase across the country, with rates reaching Rs 160 per kg in major cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. In other cities, too, prices have seen a nearly 300 per cent increase. In some parts of Uttarakhand, tomatoes are retailing at Rs 250 per kg.
The upward trend in tomato prices is expected to continue until mid-August before gradually subsiding.