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What Makes Airport Food Super Expensive?

What Makes Airport Food Super Expensive

Posted on Jul 27th, 2020 by Heena Ganotra, Last updated Jan 27th, 2022, Leave a Comment

Hunger at the airport can puncture your budget. We have all drooled over the simplest of food items because of their exorbitant prices. Even a pack of chips seems to sting the heart; thanks to triple the rates that airports promote.  

If you’ve ever wondered why this will clear all your doubts. 

  1. Higher Operating Costs

While many feel that the prices at the airports have a 300% markup simply because people get stuck at the airport with no way out than to have food and beverages at whatever price they are offered, the reasons are a little more nuanced. To begin with, the products at airports are shipped in small quantities at odd hours which have to go through a lot of security screenings. This adds up to the labor and repeated shipping costs.

  1. Extortionate Rents

The retailers have to pay a much higher price for the small place they own at the airport. In addition to this, the price they pay to the airport authorities isn’t fixed. Airports take up a % of the total sales which means the more the retailer makes, the more he has to pay to the authorities. Consequently, to make profits, they increase the prices of food items. They are also able to do so because the authorities are well aware of the inner workings and their non-retaliation gives the retailers the right to continue with the same.

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  1. Supply and Demand

Because of strict security concerns and airport baggage restrictions, the food that is allowed to be carried at the airport is limited. This increases the demand for food at the airport, leaving people with absolutely no choice. On the other hand, the resources at the airport are also limited which affects the supply of the same. And as it goes, when the demand supersedes the supply, prices are bound to soar high. 

  1. Labor Expenses

The labor force has to get to the airport every day, pay for the parking, and go through the hassle of strict security. All these factors end up making the food at the airport costlier. In a way, a part of the salaries paid to the labor goes from our pockets when we buy a packet of chips, a samosa, or a dosa. 

  1. Monopoly

Entering the airport domain is something not everyone can do. And the ones who do have very little competition. When this happens, the retailers are the ones to take the last decision; a decision nobody can question.

  1. Limited Storage Spaces

As it is, the eatery shops at the airports have limited space. To store items, they have to have another place for storage and the journey of the products from there to the outlet is a taxing one with umpteen security screenings. This adds up to the retailer’s costs.

To conclude, the higher prices that you pay at the airport are the result of- 

  1. Higher rents 
  2. Higher construction and remodeling costs
  3. Steep security, handling, and logistical costs
  4. Labor costs

So the next time you board a flight from USA to India, either make space for snacks in your cabin bag or pay extra with a lighter heart as you won’t have the itch to know the reason behind the exorbitant prices.

About Heena Ganotra | View Posts

A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness like herpes. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)

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