Fast food chain McDonald's has dropped tomatoes from its burgers and wraps in many parts of the country after prices soared to record levels.
Burgers usually had a slice of tomato between the bun and the patty. Wrap fillings had tomatoes. These will, for now, not feature tomatoes.
McDonald said due to seasonal issues, it is unable to procure tomatoes that pass quality checks. Tomato prices have soared to as high as Rs 200 per kilogramme in some markets.
McDonald's India - North and East said it is constrained to "hold tomatoes for the time being" and is trying to resolve this issue by employing sustainable agriculture practices.
"Due to seasonal crop issues arising out of farm fields in a few regions, there are not enough quantities meeting our quality specifications available. To ensure our customers get the best quality we are known to serve, we are constrained to hold tomatoes for the time being," said a McDonald's India - North and East spokesperson.
Social media was filled with memes and comments on the issue.
A user with twitter handle @ssharadmohhan commented "@mcdonaldsindia as #TomatoPrice surges, a 'Happy Meal' becomes an Unhappy one!, while another user @AdvoSidharth tweeted "McDonalds feeling the 'tomato pain'".
Some users also posted pictures of burgers served by McDonald's without tomatoes.
Some of them also shared the notices put out by some of McDonald's stores informing the walk-in customer about the temporary unavailability of tomatoes.
@AgrawallAbhi tweeted "Pricey Tomatoes Shake McDonald's in Delhi: Tomato-Free Menu Alert!".
People were tweeting with hastags #McDonalds, #Tomato, #TomatoPriceHike, #Delhi and some of them also tagged PM Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
There is also a buzz going on in other social media platforms over the absence of tomatoes on some of the top-selling products of McDonald's such as burgers and wraps.
Assuring the customers, McDonald's India - North and East spokesperson said: "We reiterate that it is not due to the surge in the prices. It is only due to the non-availability of tomatoes meeting our quality specifications."
However, he also added restaurants mostly in the Punjab-Chandigarh area where it is able to source the commodity in adequate quantities, McDonald's continues to serve tomatoes in its menu.
"We are working towards resolving this issue by employing sustainable agriculture practices including hydroponically-grown tomatoes in a completely controlled environment to de-risk our requirements from vagaries of season," he said, adding, "We should be able to bring back tomatoes to the menu soon."
McDonald's restaurants in north and east of India are operated by Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd (CPRL), which is its masters franchiser.
Stores in southern and western regions are operated by McDonald's another master franchiser Westlife Group.