Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lulu's Friend Solves The Mystery Of The Missing Condensed Milk

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?
What happened?
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.

Lulu wonders,
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?


Anonymous said...

But Lulu, if i base on your logic, if milk powder is deemed a control item, then it will also go an unnoticed death. then the toddlers won;t have any milk to drink.

Oleh itu, minum lah susu ibu.

What A Lulu said...

anon, no-lah.
it was because condensed milk was not a necessity, it died an unnoticed death.
cooking oil, sugar, flour and chicken went through bouts of "shortages" when the production cost exceeded the ceiling price. the government was forced to intervene, and supply flowed to the consumers again.

Anonymous said...

There were a time, when most rural kids depend on sweetened condensed milk instead of normal milk powder during their growing up stage. Yes, they are not suitable, but these are the ones most of us could afford. Which is why most of us didn't grow up to become a Dumex kid like Jeffrey Ong...hehe

lulu, even without the price control, sweetened condensed 'real' milk will be phased out due to the low price of the palm oil substitute. imho, it's not about incurring a loss selling the original version of condensed milk, but rather, a much better profit margin selling palm oil based ones. Of course, with the rise of price in palm oil, soon these people will find an even cheaper alternative....:)

lulu, have you ever notice that even the so called UHT milk or sterilised/pasteurised milk are now a mixture of milk solids, etc? The next time you drink those milk with different flavours, do take a good look at the ingredients. Most of them uses a mixture of different kind/forms of milk/fats. You will be surprise that they mixed quite a huge proportion of vegetable fat into it. No wonder milk nowadays does not taste like milk anymore....

Have you noted that most ice creams (walls, nestle) and those in McD are using solely vegetable based mild solids? Do you find these ice cream to be surprisingly creamy, yet does not have the slightest smell of real milk?

While I have no problem consuming palm based fat, it is well known that the kind of fat that they are using are mainly those heavily refined palm oil (deodorised, bleached, hydrogenated) which has little nutritional value. Not forgetting the Trans Fatty Acid in hydrogenated fat.

For those of you who always look out for low fat/chlolestrol margerine and butter, do take a good look at the ingredients. Even ButterCup now contains a mixture of different kind of fat...

Will write a blog post about susu later on.

Lastly, my fren told me that the profit of Dutch Lady exceeded their expectation this year. My fren wasn't surprise, considering that the actual raw material has not been rising significantly but the selling price has been increasing tremendously, in line with the overall increase cost of goods...

whisperer said...

holy crap lulu, what an interesting analysis. It makes me want condensed milk back, even though i dont like it (but now i'm not sure if what i didnt like was the real condensed milk or the fake one). its no wonder then that Shahrir said recently the price control system was [I quote] "a joke".

Birds Talking said...

Hi Lulu,

Why are people so ignorant is anyone's guess. Why? We Malaysian are so trusting.
Milk? Dory fish? Fish Ball?

We are all getting fakes yet so many do not know about it? Just what IS the Ministry doing about it?
Please see my blog of 16/10/07 at in regards of the so called 'condensed milk' and the biggest of them all 'con' job at
where the supermarkets sells river catfish as the expensive Dory fish!
Tipu nya!
Wait, I will be exposing the "Fish ball/fish paste" fake, next.
Yong Tau Foo anyone?

Cheers and regards
Birds Talking

Anonymous said...

you dont get the no 1 position in this region for nothing if one measures by number of govt servants to population. Another Malaysia Boleh.

Anonymous said...

i miss those susu cap junjung, why because quaker oat taste so good only with susu cap junjung, no amount of powder milk or susu cair can replace susu cap junjung.tsk tsk.

Anonymous said...

birdstalking, your blog are very cool!

Angry Taxpayer said...

Finally someone has answered my question!!! Have been craving for condensed milk since it no longer filled the shelves and nobody seemed to noticed or know what fact, some folks are insistant that the Krimer Pekat Manis is in fact condensed milk, even though it's been pointed out that it's not....sigh.

talking tongues said...

Hey, Lulu, who says susu cap junjung is not a suitable for infant? Read Stevie’s youtiup

you would be enlightened!