Who ordered the chicken spendaloo? Why curry prices are set to soar


Name: Curry.

Age: According to plant remains found at the bottom of ancient pots at archaeological sites in north-west India, about 4,500 years old.

Appearance: It varies.

What’s that supposed to mean? Curry is an umbrella term covering related culinary traditions developed over centuries, spreading across numerous continents and cultures.

Yes, I read all that on the back of your menu. Do you do a chicken tikka masala? Of course.

In that case, I’d like to overorder some of that, along with too much rice. Very good. Do you have plenty of money?

Why do you ask? Because the price of tikka masala is going up, as is everything else on the menu.

By how much? In restaurants, possibly by as much as £1 a dish, according to Yawar Khan, the chair of the Asian Catering Federation.

What is the reason for this? There are many. The wholesale prices of spices such as cumin and coriander have risen by 50%, while the cost of garlic and ginger has soared, as Thomas Cropper of the ready meals and food-to-go brand Tuk in Foods told the Grocer.

The ingredients are more expensive, so the meals are, too. I get that. That’s just the start. Chronic staff shortages have led to rising wage costs, while higher utility bills make it more expensive to run a restaurant.

I was just going to order a takeaway, to be honest. Good luck. The price of cardboard packaging has gone up by 28%.

So do we blame Brexit for this, or what? Along with higher energy prices, the continuing HGV driver shortage and Covid, Brexit is probably a factor.

You know what? I didn’t vote for this. You mean you never suspected that voting to leave the EU would have a negative impact on the price of a curry?

No, I mean that I didn’t vote. Ah. Well, some of those higher costs, such as the rise in the price of cooking oil, could affect the price of takeaways across the board.

Does Boris Johnson know what’s happening out there? The PM is in the habit of having the cost of his takeaways defrayed by the wife of a Tory donor, so possibly not.

It’s one menu for them and another for the rest of us. It certainly is.

Do say: “If the food is good and the staff are fairly compensated, I’m more than happy to pay a bit extra.”

Don’t say: “How much is it without the spices?”