Potatoes Out, Beetroots on Menu

With staple vegetables costing a bomb, consumers are turning to other high-priced tubers like beetroot and sweet potatoes

Published: 14th July 2014 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th July 2014 08:05 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: Potato and onion are daily staples — there’s no denying that. But a walk through the neighbourhood Pazhamudir would reveal that a kilo of potato costs as much as beetroot or sweet potato — tubers which rank lower in the preference order. Nutrition value aside, consumers have gradually begun to incorporate these into their menu because the regulars are just as expensive anyway.

“Though there are certain items like greens which I buy irrespective of price, we have begun to include beetroot, capsicum and sweet potato in our diet. But we can’t use it daily as the kids don’t really prefer the taste,” said 43-year-old S Vidyashankar, a resident of Mandaveli. However, if the same veggies are spread on a pizza or stuffed in a burger, the kids readily eat it, he added.

There’s very little chance that anybody who grew up in the last three decades or so, crossed their teens without hearing about broccoli. And with greater exposure to international cuisines, cookbooks and cooking programs on television, broccoli and turnips have found their way into kitchens in the city. However, given the exorbitant prices: broccoli costs Rs. 200 per kilogram, it is used sparingly and only in upper middle class homes.

“I came to know about broccoli and its powers in cancer-prevention from the website. I use it once a week in soups. But we consume potato only once in two weeks; the reliance is on sepakezhangu, bitter gourd and kovakkai, for daily use,” said V Maheshwari, a middle aged home-maker.

However S Magesh, a vegetable vendor in Mylapore market, minces no words as far as consumption of these vegetables is concerned. “I have only two or three select customers who buy these 200 rupee vegetables. Prices of tomato, onion and potato might keep increasing, but common customers have no way out. They will buy that. The only way out is they cut down on consumption or buy slightly lower quality stuff. Broccoli and capsicum might be useful for cancer prevention, but not everyone has cancer,” he said.


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