High chicken prices impact pork-bun sales

A spike in the cost of chicken has forced pork-bun vendors to up their prices and they are now also looking for alternative protein.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to an increase in chicken prices at all major retail outlets according to vendors at Samoa's famous pork-bun restaurant in Savalalo, as most of them are now turning to lamb meat which is double the price of chicken.

Normally the price of a pork-bun is $1.50 tala but as most of the vendors now use lamb as their protein base, prices for the Samoan pastry delicacy have now hit $2 tala.

However, one vendor still charges $1.50 for her pork-bun, Fanua Amosa, who told the Samoa Observer that she goes the extra mile to look for chicken as it's cheaper.

"I look deeper to literally all the stores I know to find chicken because I majority of the customers are always after the chicken pork-buns and to me, it's best to still look for the chicken while it's not yet entirely out," she said.

Mrs. Amosa gets most of her chicken from the Chan Mow Company Limited and Farmer Joe.

But the cost for a box of chicken has also increased according to Mrs. Amosa. Asked what her alternative is if chicken goes out of stock in Samoa, she said she will have no choice but to use lamb.

For another vendor, Fanua Manu, the price for pork-bun at the stall she's employed to look after has increased to $2 a few weeks ago.

"The Chicken is almost completely out and it's hard to find them around the shops so we had to use lamb for our buns and because we're dropping in our profits, we had to raise our game so we added [50 sene] to our normal price which makes it $2," she added. 

"We're also buying the paper bags in response to the ban of plastics from the country so it's really expensive for us if you think about the whole current situation."

Another vendor, Tui Alii, told Samoa Observer that customers have left due to the shortage of chicken.

"Almost everyone is always after the chicken pork-buns and not only we're slacking in our profits but also with customers and it's really sad but we're trying our best to adapt and look for safer alternatives," he emphasised. 

For some vendors, they are also using pork meat for their pork-buns if a box of lamb costs too much. The public tables within the vicinity of the restaurant were mostly empty at noon, the time of the day when the public would go around the area for lunch. For the fast food stalls located in the same area as the pork-bun stalls, mostly fish was displayed and sold at their stalls. 

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