Festive demand depletes sugar supply in stores

Chua Tung Wei

SIBU: Festive seasons characterised by the rush for sugar to make goodies has exhausted the supply of sugar in supermarkets and grocery stores here.

Chua Tung Wei, an executive of a supermarket here, said yesterday families came in droves in search of sugar needed for the Mid Autumn Festival and Christmas celebrations.

The surge in demand for sugar, he said was partly triggered by the Chinese New Year celebration less than two months away as the Chinese prepared to make goodies.

ai???The trend is gradually shifting over the weeks from panic buying to obtaining sugar for making cakes and cookies for festive celebrations,ai??? he told The Borneo Post when asked about consumersai??i?? motivation in buying more sugar of late, which had put retailers in a tight spot.

He, however, anticipated the situation to return to normalcy after festive celebrations based on his analysis of consumersai??i?? buying behaviour.

Towards this end, he observed that there were signs of slowing down in the purchase of sugar unlike the past few weeks.

This, he figured, could have been associated with the shift in consumer behaviour.

Nonetheless, Chua asserted that his supermarket was still limiting the purchase of sugar to one kg per customer to ensure that everyone would be able to get their supply of the commodity.

He added: ai???We have opened up a counter to deal with the purchase of sugar.ai???

Among others, this will allow us to better ensure that customers are not buying in bulk which could deprive others of the opportunity to obtain their supply of the commodity.

To a question, he said bakeries and coffee shops did not normally obtain their supply from supermarkets.

They would source the much desired commodity from wholesalers as they require sugar in bulk.

Asked further, Chua said the consumers usually purchased in bags or quantity order.

He explained that a large amount of sugar was needed to make cakes, breads, cookies and other goodies.

The executive recalled that when panic buying was at its height, their fresh stock of sugar was depleted in matter of hours.

It was said then, consumers resorted to buy icing sugar when they failed to get their share of the precious commodity.

Earlier, the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism here confirmed that a shipment of 385 metric tonnes of sugar had been transported to five wholesalers.

Its Sibu branch head Balraj Singh said the stock was distributed to supermarkets, retailers and others for local consumption.

The rest, he said would be distributed to other places in the central region.

The fresh new shipment, he added should be suffice for the local consumption until next year.

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