Tomato Trouble: McDonald's Drops The Red Fruit Amid Price Surges
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The surge in tomato prices has just claimed a new and unexpected victim in the form of international fast-food giant, McDonald’s. Social media is abuzz as images circulate of the notices displayed at a lot of their restaurants around the country saying that tomatoes are off the menu. 

"We are ever committed to serve you the best food, with the best of ingredients. Despite our best efforts, we are not able to get adequate quantities of tomatoes which pass our world-class stringent quality checks.," reads a notice posted by the Management at the outlet of Connaught Plaza Restaurants, “Hence for the time being we are forced to serve you products without tomatoes. Rest assured; we are working to get our tomato supplies back.”

Netizens are buzzing with the news after Aditya Shah, a SEBI registered investment adviser, Tweeted the notice early on the morning of the 7th. Though they haven’t directly attributed this issue to the high prices, the internet was quick to jump in on the issue. “The supply-demand gap is a killer here,” says one user, “It is the supply side issue and hence the quality may not be at par. Live with it for the next 30-45 days till the price stabilizes.” Another shared a screenshot of a conversation with McDonald’s in 2020, where they explained that the missing tomatoes on his McAloo Tikki burger were due to weather conditions and a bad tomato crop. 

Though it’s not an unprecedented experience, this year the prices have reached new heights with tomatoes being sold for ₹200 to ₹250 per kilogram in with Gangotri and Yamunotri. And in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru, they range from ₹101 to ₹121 per kilogram and around ₹180 to ₹250 per kilogram in Gangotri Dham and Uttarkashi district. And according to a report by India Today, one single tomato now costs the same as whole kilogram did a few months ago.

The brand has been very clear that the lack of tomatoes is not a price issue, but a quality one with a spokesperson for the North and East saying, "It is only due to non-availability of tomatoes meeting our quality specifications. We would like to bring to your notice that restaurants mostly in Punjab-Chandigarh area where we are able to source adequate quantities, we continue to serve tomatoes in our menu." as per IndiaTimes

The crop failure this year has been widely attributed to the extremes in temperature and the unexpected heavy rainfall, as well as ‘mosaic’ viruses CMV and ToMV which affected the quality of the fruit. So while customers might not be ‘Lovin’ it’ right now, the best chance of getting a tomato back on your burger is to wait out the scarcity and hope that the Kharif crop is successful enough to get tomatoes back on the table.