FairPrice clarifies why chicken costs S$72.27, hopes to 'dispel any possible misunderstanding'
SINGAPORE: A packet of chicken that cost more than S$70 and sparked debate on social media has prompted supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice to clarify on Thursday (Jun 2) that it contained two chickens.
An image of the price label - at S$72.27 for 3.212kg of chicken packed on May 31 - had surfaced on various social media platforms just before Malaysia's chicken export ban kicked in on Jun 1.
"We are aware of a photograph being shared of a price label for 'SB Whole Chicken' affixed on Swiss Butchery-branded packaging," said FairPrice in a Facebook post.
"The image of the product label is of an organic kampung chicken sold at one of our concessionaire counters operated by Swiss Butchery.
"This product is priced at $22.50/kg (per the label's packed date on 31 May 2022), and the product label also showed the product weight of over 3kg as 2 whole birds were packed together, weighed and priced under the same label."
It added that it hopes the clarification will "dispel any possible misunderstanding" the image may have caused.
Chicken prices have increased over the past two months. According to data from the Singapore Department of Statistics, the average price for a whole chilled chicken was S$7.21 per kg in April this year, up from S$6.60 per kg in March.
The price of chilled chicken wings also rose from S$8.75 per kg in March to S$9.45 per kg in April.
According to a director at an F&B firm, prices went up by S$0.50 per kg when the Malaysia export ban was announced, and then by another S$0.30 a few days ago.
On May 23, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced he would halt the export of up to 3.6 million chickens per month from Jun 1 to address a domestic supply shortage.
Farmers have cited high overhead costs against a government-set price ceiling forcing them to halt operations. The rising cost of chicken feed was attributed to a global shortage caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and uncertain weather patterns.
About 34 per cent of Singapore’s chicken imports in 2021 came from Malaysia. Almost all the imports were live chickens that were slaughtered and chilled in Singapore.
Chicken importers in Singapore expressed concerns about pivoting to alternative sources of chilled and frozen chicken, saying that the gap in supply from Malaysia could lead to price increases for chilled chicken in the short term.
Several eateries that specialise in chicken dishes said they would be heavily impacted by Malaysia's export ban.