Mumbai | Kolkata: Food companies such as Parle Products, ITC and Adani Wilmar said they will not hike product prices despite cost pressures in terms of raw materials and supply chain logistics completely wiping out profit margins. Companies also said their production is gradually improving after falling to half the capacity as some factories have restarted after fixing logistical hiccups.

“We expect operations to be back on track in the next 5-7 days in terms of supply chain,” said Mayank Shah, category head at Parle Products, the country’s biggest biscuit maker by volume.

“At this point, we are focused on making and delivering products, and (there is) absolutely no focus on profitability.”

Most food companies ran into supply cuts and distribution hiccups after enforcement authorities forced factories to shut in several places and halted movement of trucks. While this has been sorted out in most places across the country since then, unavailability of labour continues to impact production and movement of goods.

“There is a shortage of truck drivers and factory workers and our industry is not so automated that we can operate with limited workforce,” said Angshu Mallick, deputy CEO, Adani Wilmar. “We have also seen 50% rise in freight rates and significant pressure from currency devaluation, too,” he said, but added the company will not hike prices. The firm has opened nearly all its 80-odd depots compared to just 35 operational last week. ITC, too, said it is not hiking price of essential products despite escalation of cost. The maker of Aashirvaad atta is continuing manufacturing, distribution with minimum people.

“While we have progressively obtained permissions in some states, availability of trucks continues to be the biggest challenge at the moment,” an ITC spokesperson said. “Interstate and local truck movement has been severely impacted together with the challenge of shortage of manpower in factories. We believe it will take a few more days for the entire ecosystem and processes to be streamlined for movement of essential goods.”

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