Several restaurants and households are now using alternative ingredients instead of expensive onions. This change comes despite the recent drop in onion prices at the Nashik wholesale market.
Many families have reduced their weekly onion purchases and are using cashew and melon seed paste to thicken gravies.
Others have turned to onion ginger and garlic pastes to save on costs. Restaurants are increasing their use of tomatoes to decrease onion usage in gravies or pav bhaji. The overall demand for onions in wholesale markets has decreased. In Pune’s Market Yard, the wholesale price of onions is fluctuating between Rs35-50 per kg. The increase in onion prices is attributed to sub-par crop yields in major onion producing regions of the state.
Some restaurants are using a mix of cabbage and onion to reduce cooking expenses. Street vendors are substituting cucumber for onion in their dishes. However, high-end establishments continue to use expensive onions to maintain quality. Despite the high cost of onions, many establishments refuse to compromise on taste and quality.
However, if onion prices remain high, it may lead to an increase in overall costs. Small and medium restaurants should consider reducing the practice of providing free onions as accompaniments in meals. Onion prices tend to fluctuate seasonally. If prices continue to rise, some restaurants may resort to using onion puree or increasing their prices.
Larger organized players in the industry are not affected by these price changes, as they have annual rate contracts for vegetables. Instead of compromising on quality or reducing ingredient usage, larger restaurants prefer to adjust their selling prices accordingly.