AS demand for bread increases, there are concerns about insufficient supply of the locally produced Bengali bread and other types of loaves.
Bread seller Mohamed Ali Jinnah, 52, who makes his rounds on his motorcycle daily in Penang, said he is enjoying brisk business now but is afraid that supply might run out.
“Sometimes, the Bengali bread will be fully sold out but other times, there will still be some left over.
“But regardless, packed loaves of various brands are usually popular and they run out quickly, ” he said when contacted.
“We try to get our hands on more packed loaves but we cannot carry much and there is a limit as to how much we can buy.”
He is based in Sungai Ara and Paya Terubong.
“I make my rounds at 8am, 2pm and 7pm. Sometimes, when I reach my last round, I would have run out of certain types of bread to sell.
“So I usually try to carry as much stock as I can. I hope the supply will be enough for us bread sellers through MCO, ” he added.
Another seller Manogaran Alapihchay, 58, who is also the Penang Bread Sellers Association chairman, said while there was a shortage of packed loaves earlier, the supply should now be sufficient.
“We know that many suppliers have increased production.
“Of course, there will be higher demand for certain types of bread on certain days but overall, there should be enough bread for daily consumption, ” he said.
A bakery in Ayer Itam which supplies Bengali bread to bread sellers on the island said they had been maintaining the production of Bengali bread.
A staff member, who declined to be named, said the supply of Bengali bread is sufficient so far.
“Right now, we bake hundreds of Bengali loaves daily based on orders from bread sellers and the estimated demand at our store.
“However, for orders of 100 to 200 loaves of bread, we need to know two to three days in advance so we can coordinate our production, ” said the staff member.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Penang education officer N.V. Subbarow said many bread sellers may find supply insufficient.
“Many consumers prefer to buy packed loaves as they can last up to a week compared to the Bengali bread which lasts three to four days only.
“Loaves can be eaten with jam, butter and egg but Bengali bread is usually just eaten with curry, ” he said when contacted.
Subbarow said while packed loaves may be convenient for breakfast, the public could also try alternatives like thosai.
“Other substitutes for bread are pancakes, roti lempeng with grated coconut, roti jala and chapati.
“Our only piece of advice is to make these food items using brown sugar instead of white sugar for a healthier diet, ” he said.