The demand for dried fruits and chocolates during the holiday season has reached pre-Covid levels, with the pharmaceutical, logistics and banking sectors being the main buyers. Retail demand for these items, which exceeds Diwali and Dhanteras among Indian households, is also on the rise this year.

Dried fruits such as cashews, pistachios, almonds, and raisins are mostly purchased during the holiday season.

“The supply of dried fruits to Afghanistan, Iran and the United States is steady and prices have not increased much, which has been a great relief for the trade. The demand this year is much higher than in 2020 and has reached the pre-Covid level, ”Vijay Singh Bhuta, president of the Mumbai Dry Fruits Traders Association, told ET.

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, there were concerns that dried fruit prices would skyrocket and in turn affect holiday demand. However, this did not happen. In addition, the production of yellow raisins in the western belt of Maharashtra and Belgaum in Karnataka has been good.

“For a short time, prices went up 10 to 15%. But when supply normalized thereafter, prices corrected and remained stable, ”Bhuta said.

Traders said they expect demand from businesses to increase as the economy rebounds and the vaccination campaign has gathered pace. “Offices have opened and there are very few restrictions now. We thought companies would be placing huge orders. But that was normal, just like 2019, ”said a dried fruit trader from Delhi’s Khari Baoli dried fruit market, who did not wish to be identified.

The chocolatiers said that since there were no local restrictions, businesses cater to their customers in all corners of the country. Mumbai-based Chocolate Smith partner Ayesha Memon, said most of the orders came from pharmaceutical, banking and logistics companies.

These are the sectors that fared well during the Covid-19 pandemic, when medical assistance, contactless delivery and the digitization of payments increased.

Memon declined to name its clients, but said orders had been placed by a few large pharmaceutical companies, banks and delivery companies.

Traders said retail demand also increased because some people made money in the stock markets. “For over a year and a half, people have been battling Covid and the anxiety that comes with it. So, they want to celebrate this holiday season in a big way. They have cash on hand and therefore spend on dried fruit and chocolates, ”said Sanjay Jain, a dried fruit and chocolate retailer in Delhi.

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