Rising veg prices change consumer behaviour; health warning from top nutritionist | Print Edition

by S. Rubatheesan


Traders say the sharp rise in vegetable prices, along with a shortage of domestic cooking gas and a safety issue, has led to a marked change in consumer behaviour.

In most markets, the scenes were the same – people buy small quantities and go to buy lower-priced vegetables or green leaves. Those who cooked three vegetables for the meal now have to cook only one vegetable for a meal with another dish of soy meat, dhal or cadala.

Vegetables like beans, carrots and capsicum are out of reach for many: Narahenpita Economic Center this week. Pic of Akila Jayawardana

Whether it was markets in vegetable-growing areas or urban areas, the feelings people expressed were similar – frustration at not being able to afford a minimal amount of vegetables in their daily meal.

A vendor from Modara, Colombo, Siriyabala Andhrahinadi, 62, said he had been in the vegetable sales business for the past 20 years, but had never sold vegetables at such high prices.

I’m afraid to bring vegetables for sale because if they don’t sell at the end of the day if there are any vegetables left I will suffer a loss. In the past, we knew a certain amount was still on the end, but I can’t afford that loss now,” he said.

It is clear that consumption patterns have declined. All green leaves such as Mukonwina leaves and Kathurumuranga are the fastest selling items these days.”

In Pettah, many consumers have been seen picking up small amounts between 100 to 200 grams.

“In the past, I never cut down on food at home, but now I have to do it because I can’t buy provisions for my home because all things are so expensive,” said Anura Fernando of Kadawatha.

Urban vegetable traders were also affected by the lack of gas supplies and people chose to buy food from restaurants. Vegetables like beans, carrots and capsicum are not within everyone’s reach now, said Kalyani Priyanthi of Moratuwa, and they depend on polo, bread, amber these days. “It is not easy to feed children with alternatives all the time.”

Hardest hit are the daily wage earners, who depend on groceries and local vendors to buy vegetables on credit for their daily survival. Many families in suburban and rural areas have drastically cut back on their meals or gone to bed hungry.

Less affluent families in remote areas of the country also struggle with the social stigma of poverty. Many families have to mortgage their jewelry or borrow more money to cope with the increasing hyperinflation of basic items.

Dietitians have warned that changing food consumption patterns due to the limited purchasing power of the masses will have a lasting impact on the health of the population and may lead to malnutrition.

The basic food groups are grains, legumes, vegetables, green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, etc. All food groups have seen a sharp increase in their prices in recent weeks. Egg Price – Relatively cheap protein intake is increased to
Currently Rs 27 while 1 kilo of chicken has increased to Rs 750-850.

Dr. Jaanaki Gooneratne, Former Head of the Department of Food Technology at the Institute of Industrial Technology, Colombo, said: Sunday times An imbalance in the diet due to not eating all the food groups – vegetables will have a long-term impact on the country’s population in the future.

Currently, people are limiting their intake of certain food groups due to the high prices. Dr. Gooneratne warned that a lack of dietary diversity and inadequate food consumption would have an impact on nutritional imbalance and malnutrition in the population in the future. magnesium, etc.

Sharing initial observations about an ongoing field study of the country’s recent food consumption pattern, Dr Gooneratne noted that she has found that a large number of families among the rural populations of Badulla, Moneragala and Anuradhapura are caught up in debt cycles which limit their purchasing power significantly.

In Colombo, many high-end restaurants have had to temporarily close their operations due to LPG shortage even though there is a growing demand from the city’s residents to place orders from fast food chains instead of cooking their meals at home.

A Wellawatta resident called three restaurants to reserve orders, but only to be told restaurants have scaled back orders or closed temporarily due to LPG shortages.

Asila Sampath, president of the All Islands Canteen Owners Association (AICOA), said nearly eighty percent of canteens and restaurants had closed by this week due to LPG shortages as well as high vegetable prices.

This saw an increase in the price of vegetarian lunch packs as well as a sharp increase to Rs 180 from Rs 120 a few months ago.

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