remember your susu cap junjung? milkmaid? teapot?
not many people realise it but you can't find real condensed milk anymore. Lulu has searched and searched for it, but it has been quietly replace by what is called "krimer manis pekat". Slowly, without you realising it, they replaced the milk product with a palm-based sweetened creamer, disguising it in the same packaging and occupying the same space on the shelf where the condensed milk used to be.
Condensed milk connoisseurs and ardent bakers have lamented the loss of this wonderful product as the substitute is, but a poor substitute.
For a long time, Lulu has joined the lamenters, wondering why we can't find it anymore. Was it a [un]health[y] issue? Was it a demand problem?
Why can't we find our condensed milk?
Then, just the other night, Lulu's friend solved the age old mystery of the disappear-ed condensed milk.
Lulu's friend, who is a connoisseur, was reading something which had the list of products under price control.
Petrol, lpg, steel bar, sugar, flour.... and suddenly, a loud exclamation!
Condensed milk is a control priced item. That's why you cant find any here.
Lulu did a check, and these are the historical prices of a 397gm tin of condensed milk as tracked by the Domestic Trade Ministry
1991 RM 1.50
1993 RM 1.60
1997 RM 1.65
1999 RM 1.75
The price has been kept as RM1.75/small tin since 1999. This is a good buy IF you can find it, considering that a carton of milk has almost doubled in price. Lulu wonders where they got the price quote of RM1.75 in 2007 cos they havent been seen on shelves since lulu-doesnt-realise-when-cos-it-has-been-many-many-years.
That is the problem created by controlled price items. Whilst it is good that the rakyat is not burdened by arbitrary pricing, it ignores completely the fact that commodity prices do go up. And in the past year, it has gone up, up and away.
When the cost of the product has exceeded the selling price, it leaves the manufacturer manufacturing to sell at a loss in his expense. And when that happens, he limits his production, creating a shortage.
We have seen it in the case of the chicken, flour, sugar and cooking oil. Especially since these are everyday necessity, the rakyat felt the impact at once.
Condensed milk, however, is not a real daily necessity. No one went hungry or could not bake anymore when the manufacturers decided they could not make any money producing it. Hence, it died an unnoticed death.
1. why was it put into the control price item list. It's not suitable for infants or toddlers. It's not the healthiest of products. Why condensed milk and not milk powder? Could it be because they needed to put some form of milk on the list, and they put the lowest necessity product instead of what is needed the most for our children's nutrition?
2. why dont the manufacturers sell "enriched" condensed milk? By adding a minuscle of vitamins, nutrients and minerals which are "essential" to our diet, their product would no longer fall under the control item descrption. Plain flour is controlled price at RM1.35. But by adding some baking powder, it sells as "self raising flour" at double the price.
3. Are we administering/managing this price control thingy correctly?