A plate of rice and side dishes cost more than RM5 - food vendors

NOOR HEIEDAYAH AHMAD
02 Feb 2023 12:33pm
Photo for illustrative purposes. - File PIX.
Photo for illustrative purposes. - File PIX.
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SHAH ALAM - The average cost to prepare a set meal containing rice, vegetables and chicken is RM5.68

The estimated basic cost for the meal is 50 cents for rice, a small piece of chicken for (RM1.25), beansprouts at (50 cents) coconut milk (80 cents), salt and turmeric (10 cents) and onions (10 cents).

The costs without cooking the ingredients would be RM3.25 and if the 75 per cent profit margins were took into account it would bring the total up to RM5.68

A vendor who did not want to be identified stated several matters that must be taken into account were the overhead costs such as water, electricity, energy, gas, oil and labour costs.

"The calculations at its base for each business is different depending on the location, cost of raw ingredients and rent," the vendor said to Sinar.

The vendor who is a Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Diploma in Hospitality and Catering graduate said the figures show why certain vendors have difficulties selling at a price below RM5.

A stall owner in Shah Alam Rozana Harun, 52, said she was forced to stop the sale of rice with side dishes and has changed her menu to nasi lemak following the unstability of raw ingredient prices.

"I was forced to stop the sale of rice with side dishes that had chicken or fish with vegetables as it was no longer profitable.

"There were several costs that must be taken into account before the dish is charged to customers.
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"If the plate of rice with chicken or fish and vegetables comes up to roughly RM10, I am forced to charge the customers RM12 for it.

"I don't have the heart to stomach charging them that much hence why I stopped the selling the side dishes and rice." she said.

Rozana said the raw ingredients to serve rice and side dishes required a high capital as well as being very difficult to procure at the time.

"Other than the increase in raw ingredient prices, it is also quite difficult to obtain.

"For example, I am forced to go through several stores selling chicken and vegetables to compare prices beforehand.

"The price of cucumbers per kilogram (kg) was RM7 and the cost of limes per kg were RM17 and they had a price hike. Stocks for eggs were also difficult to obtain," she said.

Rozana said the net profits for the sale of nasi lemak was much higher compared to selling rice with side dishes.

"I could gain a net profit of RM1,000 from the nasi lemak menu compared to only RM200 for the menu of rice with side dishes," she said.

Meanwhile an eatery owner in Kampar Perak,Muhammad Khairul Fikri, 31, said the actual costs for gepuk chicken sold by him was significantly high.

"The actual costs is around RM7 to RM9. The chicken thighs we used have risen from RM20 to RM29 per packet.

"Our menu requires chillies and onions for the sambal to be made.

"Chili prices currently could reach RM9 per kg and the onions were RM4 per kg," he said.

Khairi explained that the situation burdened him and it was impossible to reduce the prices.

"Even though the government announced the Rahmah Menu at RM5, but as a food vendor, this is difficult to achieve.

"I sell the gepuk chicken at RM12 a plate because I am forced to cover other costs and profit from it.

Khairul said raw ingredients like chicken are too expensive especially when measured by kg.

"If I bought by kg instead of in bulk the price would skyrocket to two chicken thighs costing me RM10." he said.

The government on Friday announced the Rahmah Menu which was food served under RM5 primarily targeted for the less fortunate.

Starting from Tuesday, those affected by the rising cost of living could enjoy food as low as RM5 in 15,000 premises throughout the country.

This was in line with the Rahmah Menu initiative the government took to ensure the B40 group could afford food at a reasonable price.

Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said he hopes this initiative will help those in the less fortunate category to have balanced meals.