Retailers and restaurants across the country have been hit with a scarcity of food items such as lamb, chicken nuggets and sausages.
The Bulletin learnt that the shortage of these food items is due to local suppliers being unable to meet consumer demand, owing to several importation issues beyond their control.
A food business operator expressed concern at having to pull lamb dishes from the menu for the time being. “It does affect our business, but we just try our best to offer alternatives. We hope that this will be looked into by the authorities and the out-of-stock issues will be resolved soon.”
Another food operator said, “For now, we have resorted to buying lamb from retail outlets, which is very limited in supply and usually not the cuts needed for the menu.”
But the owner of a Kiulap restaurant renowned for its mutton dishes is positive that the issue will be resolved soon.
“We are offering various beef dishes to our patrons as an alternative to lamb.
“There’s a shortage, but it is hardly affecting our daily operations as we still have patrons coming back to dine.
“We understand that this is something beyond anyone’s control as the current global pandemic forced countries to take precautionary measures for travel and imports.”
Apart from the scarcity of lamb, there is also a high demand for sausages and nuggets of imported brands.
One shopper looking for a popular Malaysian brand of nuggets and sausages said, “My children love to eat these, so I have to get an alternative close to the brand’s taste and quality.”
A retired civil servant told the Bulletin, “I used to get my rack of lamb from a popular retail outlet, but now every time I go there, the shelves are empty. Whatever the reason may be, I hope that a solution will be found soon.”
Another consumer said she stopped visiting kebab stalls for the time being, since lamb kebabs are unavailable. “There isn’t a crisis yet, as there is still other food available, but it’s the cravings that bother me.
“I hope our local suppliers will get back on track to meeting the demand,” she said.
On a positive note, the shortage of processed food has become a business opportunity for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
To meet local demand, some entrepreneurs are selling home-made nuggets.
This venture is not only satisfying local demand, but also helping local businesses to make a bold step in diversifying their range of products.