Chicken is a staple food for many of us here in Singapore. After all, it’s the key ingredient for one of our unofficial national dishes.
So when Malaysia announced that it will be halting exports of its chickens from 1 Jun, Singaporeans were understandably concerned.
All around our island city, fresh chicken was wiped off the shelves at supermarkets and wet markets on Wednesday (25 May).
According to stall owners, not only were there more customers that day, but each one also seemed to be purchasing more chicken.
On Monday (23 May), Malaysia announced that it will stop exports of its chickens from 1 Jun.
After a day of coming to terms with this news and hearing of increased prices in the days to come, Singaporeans sprung into action.
Across the Lion City, fresh chicken was wiped off shelves at both supermarkets and wet markets on 25 May.
Lianhe Zaobao reports that at wet markets, many stalls closed early as customers flocked to them in the morning. In addition, customers also bought more than they typically did.
60-year-old Mdm Chen, who runs a poultry stall on Jurong West Street 41, shared that she typically sells out at 11.30am. But on that day, she sold out everything by 9.30am.
Over at Beo Crescent Market, poultry stall owner Mdm Huang experienced a similar scenario.
She said her regulars would typically order about 20 chicken drumsticks, but now, they were ordering 30. Many apparently wanted to buy more and store the meat in their freezers.
Besides the increased demand, Mdm Huang explained that her supplier has also cut the stocks by 20%, another reason for her selling out early.
Her supplier has also increased prices by about S$0.05 per kg, forcing her to do the same.
According to The Straits Times (ST), poultry stalls at Bedok, Ghin Moh, Bishan, and MacPherson all sold out between 8 and 9.30am. This is three to four hours earlier than usual.
Fresh chicken also flew off the shelves at supermarkets early in the day.
ST shared that by 9am, several Sheng Siong, FairPrice, and Giant outlets in Bedok were already out of fresh chicken.
At Simpang Bedok’s Giant outlet, fresh whole chicken was reportedly sold out by 8am.
The same situation was observed at supermarkets in Clementi and along Toa Payoh Lorong 4.
An employee from a Clementi supermarket said they restocked the poultry shelves at 10am, but it was quickly emptied again.
Many customers were seen purchasing three to four chickens, Lianhe Zaobao reports.
At many of these supermarkets, only frozen chicken items were left.
Despite the panic buying at many locations, some supermarkets did not face such problems.
Over at supermarkets in Tampines as well as Cold Storage at Great World City, poultry shelves remained fully stocked with fresh chicken.
Meanwhile, customers at some FairPrice outlets spotted a notice by the supermarket urging customers to only buy what they need.
The notice also informed customers that there are other substitutes, such as frozen poultry products or alternative protein sources, available.
It also asked for customers’ patience as they do their best to secure more stocks.
Following news of the export ban, local poultry suppliers are doing their best to cope with the surge in demand.
On Wednesday (25 May), Kee Song Group, a major poultry producer, said they are currently rushing to fulfil orders.
Kee Song Group rears chickens and handles the processing, packing, as well as distribution of fresh and frozen chicken, reports ST.
The company shared that they have now moved to 24-hour shifts to hype up production volume in the coming days.
Singaporeans are understandably concerned about the impact of Malaysia’s export ban on our chicken supply here.
But rest assured, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is closely monitoring the situation.
Early in the week, they shared that the disruptions are “temporary” and urged people to only buy what they need in the meantime.
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