If you bought chicken rice or any other kind of chicken yesterday, you might have asked yourself if the prices were raised as compared to before or if you were hallucinating.
If you felt like that, you definitely weren’t hallucinating.
After Malaysia announced on 23 May that it will be halting all chicken imports to Singapore from 1 June onwards until domestic stocks and prices stabilise, Singaporeans scrambled to stock up on chicken products in typical Singapore fashion.
For reference, Malaysia exports around 3.6 million chickens every month to Singapore.
And with the ban beginning yesterday (1 June), many places in Singapore selling chicken increased their prices for the last batches of fresh chicken due to the limited stock.
Increase in Price of Chicken
According to The Straits Times, shoppers who bought their fresh chicken at Bukit Batok East Market had to pay $6 per kg of chicken, a slight increase from the $4.90 to $5 that they had to pay for every kg of chicken n the past.
And the price of everyone’s beloved chicken rice hasn’t been spared either, with a small plate of chicken rice at Maxwell Food Centre costing $4 instead of $3.50 now.
Marie Liew, a 22-year-old financial service intern interviewed by The Straits Times expressed that the increase in price is reasonable as of now since stall owners still need to make a living.
Apart from in-store purchases, the price of chicken has also been racked up online.
Price comparison platforms such as Price Kaki have revealed that the prices of Malaysia-exported chicken have also been raised.
For instance, Kee Song fresh chicken thighs sold by online supermarket RedMart now cost $4.25 for a piece weighing in at 300g. It used to cost $4 in the past.
Despite the increase in demand and obvious decrease in supply that has resulted in increased prices across the country, some chicken sellers have mentioned that they are less than willing to transfer these costs for the buyers to shoulder.
One such stallholder is Vincent Liow, the owner of Ken & Vin Fresh Poultry at Ghim Moh Market.
According to The Straits Times, Low’s supplier has raised the price of chicken.
However, the 47-year-old felt that such an increase would translate into an unreasonably high price that consumers would have to pay if the business made the same amount of profit.
Low also explained that while he increased the price of a chicken leg to $4 last week, he decided to lower it to $3.50 this week and chose to earn a smaller profit instead.
For comparison, Low priced a chicken leg at $2.50 before the ban was announced.
Some Sellers Taking a Break
And though some chicken sellers may be able to get by with a slight increase in prices, it’s evident not the case for everyone.
In light of not receiving a sufficient supply of chickens from Malaysia, some sellers who get most of their stocks from suppliers in Malaysia have made the choice to shut their stalls for a month.
Many stallholders have expressed that they are unable to obtain stocks from other fresh chicken sources, and will be closing their stalls temporarily if they cannot get hold of frozen chicken.
On the other hand, some stallholders are adamant about only selling fresh chicken and explained that they are unwilling to sell consumers frozen chicken.
Even though there might still be some stocks available as chickens were still imported from Malaysia before the ban took effect, many stallholders have scrambled to purchase the stocks.
Chicken Rice Businesses Switching to Frozen Chicken
As for the chicken rice industry, some stalls have brought up the fact that they will be switching to using frozen chicken in their dishes.
Some also brought up the need to try and test out various recipes to examine the differences between using fresh and frozen chicken in the chicken rice dishes.
In addition to that, importers have apparently been urging clients to purchase separate, split parts of the chicken rather than the entire bird, causing it to be difficult for some chicken rice sellers to adapt.
This has especially been so for dishes such as roasted chicken, which often requires half a chicken or a whole chicken.
Still Sufficient Supply of Chicken to Go Around
Although it may seem like Singapore will be running out of chicken soon, other sellers in the industry have come forth to reassure consumers that there are still sufficient stocks to go around locally.
Win Hong, the owner of Winthrop Hong Group at Ghim Moh Market, also told The Straits Times that sellers in the industry will not raise the prices of chicken to an exorbitant amount, and that they just need to ensure that they still generate some profit.
Apart from that, individuals that The Straits Times interviewed also expressed that they are not against trying frozen chicken, and will continue to purchase frozen chicken if its taste does not differ much from fresh chicken.
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