Thais are expected to spend more on this year's Vegetarian Festival due to higher food costs, says the research centre of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).
A Thai-Chinese vendor in Chinatown puts vegetarian food in a bag for customers prior to the start of the ‘je’ festival. The vegetarian ritual will start on Monday and run until Oct 23. APICHART JINAKUL
The centre's survey found that spending during the festival, which runs from Oct 15-23, would rise by about 7.6% from the year before to 37.6 billion baht, said UTCC economist Thanavath Phonvichai.
The increase also reflects growing interest among people in making merit and other activities associated with je.
Based on the survey, the number of people opting for vegetarian fare this year would rise by about 28%, and each person attending the festival will spend on average 8,154 baht over the nine days, mostly on food and the remainder on travel expenses to make merit.
Prices of several vegetables in Talad Thai market have increased ahead of the festival. Kale, for instance, is 80 baht a kilogramme, up by 20-25 baht from last month, while coriander has doubled in price to 200 baht a kilo.
Wiboonluk Ruamruk, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, attributed the hike to recent storms which have damaged vegetable plantations.
In order to minimise the burden on consumers, the department will offer produce from the state's support market around 10-20% lower than market prices from tomorrow until Oct 13.
The vegetables will be available at four markets: Ying Charoen, On Nut Fresh Mart, Min Buri and Happy Land.