Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sweets.... should we buy them?

I've been trying to work out the costing of producing one of my favourite(and first Indian sweet I learned to make) Indian sweets, the famous Mysore Pak. Shops sell it for as much as Rs. 140/- a kg. However, armed with the knowledge that 4.5 units of the sweet require 2 units of Ghee(clarified butter), 1 unit of besan, and 1.5 units of Sugar I decided to work things out for myself.

For 1 kg of Mysore Pak, you need:
450g Ghee
225g Besan
330g Sugar

The rates of the items are as follows:
Ghee: Rs 100 for 500g
Besan: Rs 25 for 500g
Sugar: Rs 20 for 1000g

That means 1kg of Mysore Pak will cost(for the ingredients alone):
Ghee: Rs. 90
Besan: Rs 11
Sugar: Rs 6

Total cost of ingredients: Rs. 107.
Lets take cost of production to be about Rs. 8 per kg(fuel, labour, transport, etc....)
So, the total cost per kg is now Rs. 115.
The profit per kg is just Rs. 25!!!! And this is not including the cost for renting the shop and electricity bills, etc....

Surely the shop keepers must be making more money. The food industry is known to have a profit margin of at least 100%. the only way they can do this is by cutting down on the cost of the most expensive ingredient -- Ghee. It is most commonly substituted in India by Dalda(Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil[HVO]). However, it should be known that Dalda has very detrimental effects on human and animal health. Just search for "Hydrogenated vegetable oil" and you'll get many hits on your favourite search engine.

To cut a long story short, Dalda contains Trans-Fatty acids, which are not easily absorbed by the body, and they are comparable to "plastics" in the body which stick around for long. These are the equivalent of foreign substances in the body and lead to many diseases. So, please think twice before buying sweets from an un-trusted shop.


  1. Actual incident: I went to a sweet shop asking for unsalted butter(makkhan) and the shopkeeper said that they generally cream the milk and use the butter at home(I could see he wasn't lying from the size of his waist-line).

  2. Pune Cow's Ghee can cost anywhere from 180 to 200 per kg, while Dalda costs anywhere from 110 to 130 per kg. It is a saving of about 40% as compared to using Ghee. Who knows if the shopkeepers are further cutting costs by using inferior quality HVO?

  3. Interesting aside: Dalda Ghee costs less than Dalda brand cooking oil!!!! When in fact the Ghee is Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil. What do you think makes up that extra weight and cost of production of Ghee from the oil(palm oil)?

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