McDonald’s drops tomatoes from India offerings, citing quality concerns as prices surge

McDonald’s drops tomatoes from India offerings, citing quality concerns as prices surge

Tomato prices in India have reached record highs, leading McDonald’s restaurants to remove tomatoes from their menu items. The surge in prices comes at a time when inflation is already impacting consumers. As a result, many Indians are reducing their consumption of tomatoes.

The government attributes the higher prices to a lean production season, which is often disrupted by monsoon rains, affecting transport and distribution. However, this increase in tomato prices follows a period of rising prices for other items, such as milk and spices.

Notices posted in two McDonald’s stores in New Delhi explain that the restaurant chain is unable to obtain sufficient quantities of tomatoes that meet their quality standards. As a result, they are serving products without tomatoes. Store managers clarify that the issue is related to quality problems in the supply chain, rather than pricing.

Connaught Plaza Restaurants, the franchisee of McDonald’s in India’s north and east, attributes the decision to remove tomatoes from the menu to “temporary” seasonal issues. On the other hand, Westlife Foodworld, the franchisee for the western and southern regions, with 357 restaurants, states that there are no significant tomato-related issues. They claim that the problem is seasonal and has only affected 10% to 15% of their stores.

While McDonald’s Delhi stores still offer tomato ketchup sachets, a nearby Subway restaurant reports no issues with serving tomatoes. However, vegetable vendors in Mumbai, like Vijay Sharma, have experienced a decline in tomato sales. Sharma’s customers have significantly reduced their purchases, causing him to bring only five kilos of tomatoes instead of the usual 40 kilos.

As Indians cut back on tomatoes, some businesses are suggesting alternatives. An advertisement on the BigBasket shopping app recommends using tomato puree instead of fresh tomatoes when prices are high.

In conclusion, the surge in tomato prices in India has led to McDonald’s removing tomatoes from their menu items. The government attributes the increase to a lean production season, while McDonald’s cites quality issues in the supply chain. Despite the temporary nature of the problem, it has affected a significant number of McDonald’s stores. Meanwhile, vegetable vendors have seen a decline in tomato sales, prompting some businesses to suggest alternatives like tomato puree.

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