In the past, bakeries were established to meet the demands of European officials and a small group of Indians influenced by the Western habits. Today, a good many people are habituated to the consumption of processed foods such as bread, biscuits and cakes.
The 1961 Census recorded the number of persons engaged in production of bread, biscuits, cakes and other bakery products as 206 (200 males, 6 females). Of these, 161 (156 males, 5 females) or 78 per cent were in urban areas. The Census also recorded the number of persons engaged in retail trading in food-stuffs like sweetmeat, condiments, cakes, biscuits, etc., as 807 (including 132 females) in 1961. Of these, 393 (325 males, 68 females) or 49 per cent were in urban areas.
A bakery establishment required flour, sugar, yeast, maida, butter, flavouring essences, eggs, soda, hydrogenated oil, semolina, mava, etc. These were purchased from local traders. The expenditure on these items varied from Rs. 500 to Rs. 6,500 per month, depending upon the size of the business. The bakeries generally produce bread, cakes and biscuits of various types.
The equipment of a bakery consisted of an oven, metal sheets, moulds and iron rods for baking the products; vessels and big plates to prepare dough; big tins to keep the baked stuff and cupboards. The cost of the entire equipment varied from Rs. 300 to Rs. 5,000.
The sample survey revealed that the net earnings of a bakery ranged between Rs. 250 and Rs. 600 per month or even more depending
upon the size of the bakery. Most of the small bakeries engaged in the sale of bakery products were one-man establishments, while those employing outside labour had to pay about Rs. 10 to Rs. 13 per day depending upon the nature of the work and skill involved in its performance. The medium-sized bakeries were found to employ four salaried workers. The working hours were not fixed in case of such establishments.
It was found that most of the bakeries were housed in rented premises, the expenditure on rent ranging between Rs. 10 and Rs. 50 per month.
The sample survey revealed that there was one bakery each at Karjat, Shrigonda and Shrirampur, while there were three establishments at Pathardi.