Want curry sauce? You have to wait

When Mr Cedric Poh bought a McDonald's meal last week and asked for curry sauce, he was told it was out of stock.

The undergraduate shrugged it off and did not give it much thought, thinking it was probably because of the demand during Chinese New Year.

On Thursday, Mr Poh, 23, went to a different McDonald's outlet and was told the same thing.

"I was surprised. Given its popularity, I thought there would be more stock," he said.

Mr Poh is one of the local consumers scratching his head over the unavailability of his favourite products in the past month.

This is because of congestion at the US West Coast ports, which is affecting the shipping of cargo (see report above), and its ripple effect can be felt from across the ocean by local shoppers and retailers alike.

Miss Constance Yeo, 24, a lifestyle writer, has been searching unsuccessfully for her favourite Special K cereal bar from American food company Kellogg's for the past month.

She told The New Paper: "I've been to three different FairPrice outlets near my home in Choa Chu Kang and my office in Redhill but I still can't find it. Previously, I could buy it easily from any FairPrice."

FairPrice did not respond to TNP's queries by press time.

But a spokesman for McDonald's told TNP that the US port congestion affected seven of its products - cinnamon melts, whipped cream, curry sauce, mocha frappe, caramel frappe, strawberry banana smoothie and mango pineapple smoothie.

Signs informing customers of the unavailability of these products have been put up at its outlets.


The spokesman said: "We would like to assure our customers that despite the situation at US West Coast ports, any disruption to our supply of condiments and ingredients is only temporary.

"We have a variety of supply sources and in this instance, McDonald's Singapore has secured supplies from other McDonald's-approved producing countries for most of our products."

Other businesses, like fruit importers, are also affected but on a smaller scale.

Mr Tay Khiam Back, managing director of Hupco, told TNP: "We get our apples from Washington and oranges from California. Over the past few months, the delay has been about three to five days."

Mr Yeo Cheng Hong, owner of Lai Hong Fruits, has turned to other sources for his supply.

He said: "The orange supply from the US hasn't been good this year. We have been getting them from Egypt for the past few months."

This article was first published on February 28, 2015.
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