The F&B sector in Malaysian is facing significant challenges at the moment and a number of top industry players are starting to feel the pinch.
Three major Australian Halal certifiers have had their Malaysian accreditation revoked due to 'non confirming' halal practices. All Australian F&B exporters who reply these bodies are currently unable to export to Malaysia until their certification is reinstated.
The sudden enforcement of an English language labelling regulation on imported food is currently disrupting imports from non English speaking European countires.
The wine sector in Malaysia is also doing it tough. Many wine importers have still not been issued their wine import license for 2018, and those that have received theirs have only been issued a three month or six month license. Even with the license it is taking importers up to three weeks to clear wine through Customs leading to a hike in logistics costs such as cool storage fees while goods are processed for clearance. On top of this, the government has put a freeze on the registration of new wines for import. Therefore, wine companies looking to enter the Malaysian market must wait until the freeze is lifted.
Feedback from the F&B trade suggests that hypermarkets that target cost conscious consumers are suffering as a result of reduced consumer spending. The higher income consumers, who are less sensitive to the current economic climate, are choosing to spend their Ringgit at independent supermarkets where the selection on offer is better. The result is that mainstream retailers are losing market share.
With a devalued currency and concerns about an upcoming national election weighing heavily on the minds of Malaysians, business sentiment is not positive.