FairPrice has 4 months' stockpile of frozen chicken; authorities say no need to panic buy
NTUC FairPrice has a stockpile of frozen chicken that can last for about four months, with another two months of supply on the way, Ms Elaine Heng, FairPrice Group's deputy group chief executive officer, said on Thursday (May 26).
Ms Heng, who is also FairPrice's chief executive officer for retail business, was speaking during a visit to Fairprice's Fresh Food Distribution Centre in Upper Thomson Road.
Over the last few days, several wet markets and supermarkets saw their shelves cleared of fresh chicken as consumers rushed to stock up on the meat.
This follows an announcement by Malaysia on Monday (May 23) that it would halt the export of up to 3.6 million chickens a month from June 1, until domestic prices and production stabilise.
Asked by The Straits Times if FairPrice had any plans to limit the quantity of chicken or other protein products that customers can purchase, Ms Heng said the group is still observing the situation.
"At the current moment, what we've seen is that we're still able to replenish, and with the options of chilled and frozen (chicken)," she said.
But she added: "When the need arises, we will potentially consider this in consultation with other retailers and the government agencies."
Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, who was also visiting the facility, said that there is an adequate supply of chicken in Singapore, and urged people to refrain from panic buying.
Acknowledging that there will be some disruption to the sales of chilled or fresh chicken, he noted however that about 70 per cent of Singapore's chicken imports are in frozen form, from a variety of countries other than Malaysia.
"So I'd like to assure Singaporeans that we have an adequate supply of frozen chicken in Singapore," he said.
He added that many importers and retailers had already pre-ordered chicken supplies, which are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks.
"We're also working very hard with the industry and importers to source from other countries and sources of chicken to ensure we have continuation of supply. So I'd like to encourage every Singaporean to continue to purchase as per normal - there's no need to surge your purchase of chicken, as there are adequate supplies," he said.
He added that the authorities would work with businesses that can only serve chilled chicken, to see how they can be helped during this period if their businesses are affected.
Mr Tan was also asked whether there might be an increase in the price of fish here.
Malaysian media had earlier this week reported an increase in fish prices in Malaysian markets due to a lack of supply in the waters around the country.
In response to the question, Mr Tan said: "We have to diversify our sources - that's the strategy we've adopted for many years, and it's served us well today. So even if there's disruption for any specific country, we still have sources we can rely on."
Asked about whether FairPrice would control the price of chicken, Ms Heng noted that the group had recently reduced the price of eggs and given a promotion on oil, despite rising food costs.
She said: "We have been looking at how we can absorb these costs... we are doing our best to take into consideration the current environment and to moderate the cost of living to the best of our abilities."
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now