Due to the current surge in food inflation, which has reached its highest point since January 2020 in India, Burger King in the country has temporarily halted the inclusion of tomatoes in its menu offerings.
Interestingly, two of the Burger King outlets in India have taken a playful approach in explaining the absence of tomatoes from their dishes.
“Even tomatoes need a vacation we are unable to add tomatoes to our food,” read notices pasted at two Burger King India outlets. The chain has cited quality issues in explaining the shortfall.
With nearly 400 outlets, the prominent burger chain in India, along with numerous McDonald’s and Subway branches, has opted to eliminate tomatoes from their menus due to the country’s current peak in food inflation, reaching its highest level since January 2020.
Following McDonald’s, Subway in India also dropped tomatoes from its menu that same month, the Times of India reported.
Like McDonald’s, notices outside a few Subway outlets in New Delhi attributed the unavailability of tomatoes due to quality issues.
“Despite our best efforts, we are not able to get adequate quantities of tomatoes which pass our world class stringent quality checks. Hence for the time being we are forced to serve you products without tomatoes,” a notice at a Subway outlet at the New Delhi airport read, per the Times of India.
Notably, Burger King has even discontinued its long-standing practice of offering complimentary cheese slices. In contrast, Domino’s competitor, Domino’s, has aimed to attract financially strained consumers by introducing a budget-friendly pizza priced at $0.60, marking its most economical option worldwide.
On its website’s frequently-asked-questions page, Burger King provided reassurance to its customers, explaining that their current absence was “due to unpredictable conditions on the quality and supply of tomato crops.”
“We request your patience and understanding,” it says
However, it remained unclear whether this decision to omit tomatoes would impact all of their stores or only a select few.
Tomato prices have witnessed a significant surge over the past few months. According to data from India’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the average daily retail price per kilogram of tomatoes stood at 119.16 rupees, equivalent to $1.43, on July 16. In contrast, it was only 34.66 rupees, around $0.42, almost a year earlier on August 16, 2022.
To address the tomato price crisis, the Indian government has taken measures to alleviate the situation by deploying a fleet of vans to distribute tomatoes at more affordable rates throughout the country, as reported by Reuters.
Ironically, the current tomato shortage in India comes right after a bumper harvest that caused prices to crash, per The New York Times.
In May, some farmers even resorted to dumping tomatoes on the road because they were unable to sell them, per the Times of India.