Will pricey cakes eat into Christmas festivities?

December 23rd, 2011 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 23 (IANS) Christmas celebrations are incomplete without the customary cakes. But this Dec 25, the festivities may not be as sweet as in the past since many bakers in Kolkata have hiked cake prices by 10-20 percent.

Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, is celebrated with much gusto across India with markets and many houses decked up with stars, bells and other decorations.

This is the time when all the varieties of cakes right from plum cakes, fruitcake, chocolate to almond cakes, sell like — yes, you guessed it right — hot cakes.

However, the spiralling cost of basic commodities has led to an increase in prices of cakes this time, much to the disappointment of many.

“The prices of cakes are up by 10, 15 and even 10 percent. The price of normal fruit cake, which was Rs.150-160 last year, has gone up to Rs.180-200. It is tough for us as we need to buy 10-12 cakes to distribute among relatives and friends,” Annie Gomes, a housewife, told IANS.

“It is really tough for middle-class families like us if the prices of cakes go up like this every year. It becomes very tough as the prices of other things which are needed to celebrate and decorate houses during Christmas have also gone up,” said Miranda Rozario, a housewife.

“We are already reeling under the impact of price rise. On top of this, now we have to manage Christmas cakes which come for at least Rs.200,” said Samuel Rodrigues, an office-goer.

Although the prices of cakes vary from shop to shop, on an average a pound (0.4 kg) of fruit cake, which cost Rs.160 last year, now comes for Rs.180-190. Almond cake, priced at Rs.200-230 a pound, cost Rs.200 last Christmas.

The bakers blame the rise in prices of the ingredients for the hike, but feel it would not affect the sales.

“We have increased the prices by 10-20 percent, but I don’t think it would affect the sales as Christmas cake is just a one-time purchase every year,” said Supriya Roy of the Sugar & Spice.

According to shopkeepers, the price of basic ingredients of cake like flour, baking powder, egg, butter, sugar and milk have increased hugely.

Flury’s, an iconic confectioner of Kolkata, has also hiked the prices of its cakes. “What can we do if the cost of making a cake increases. But I can tell one thing that the cost has neither affected nor will it affect the sales,” says Flury’s manager Rajiv Khanna.

However, Monginis has decided not to raise its rates. “We have already taken a price correction earlier this year and have no plans to increase prices for the forthcoming season,” said Viren Ghole, general manager (Marketing & E-commerce) of Monginis Foods Pvt. Ltd.

The company has a presence in 12 Indian cities and two in Egypt.

Ghole says that though the price hike does not impact sales meant for self consumption, it affects sales of cakes meant for distribution among relatives and friends.

The joint action committee of the West Bengal Bakers Association has also decided not to increase the prices. “It will impact common man and in turn will effect the sales among middle-class and lower-middle class,” said Idris Ali, secretary of the committee.

(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at pradipta.t@ians.in)

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