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Malaysia's savory snack industry sees rapid growth

August 11, 2011
Malaysia's traditional snack industry is growing rapidly with the sales figure hitting RM200 million (66 Million USD) last year.

While consumers have ample choice when comes to local snacks, crispy chips made of tapioca, banana, sweet potato and onion, are the favourite ones.

Initially this cottage product received lukewarm response but things have changed as they stand at par with imported snacks with numerous flavours, in uniform shapes and sizes, and impressive packaging.

According to the growth data for the country's snack industry released by Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA), the chips represent the biggest market share of the snack industry with their sales figure amounting to RM102.1 million (34 Million USD).

FAMA's Chairman, Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin noted the increase in the value in sales of the snack industry in Malaysia at present has been very encouraging especially looking at the high demand.

"Due to the high demand for the chips, the manufacturers are facing shortage of raw ingredients like tapioca, sweet potato and even bananas."

"To overcome the shortfall in the ingredients to process the chips, FAMA has established the contract farming system where farmers planting the tubers and bananas needed by the industry and the yield purchased by FAMA,"he told Bernama here.

Other than the common crispy chips, fruit snacks are also set to witness an increase in sales to RM46.7 million from RM44.5 million in 2010. This excludes other snacks like muruku and snacks made from nuts.

He noted that through FAMA's promotional efforts, many local products havebeen successfully marketed at the international level with the Malaysia Best endorsement.

Local chips made of tapioca and bananas not only have loyal following within the country, but also overseas.

"At present, are exporting the chips to the Middle East and Arab countries. We are also trying to market these local products to other countries, but the lack of raw ingredients is a serious impediment.""God willing we will try to boost the raw ingredient supply, to increase production and penetrate new markets. At present the chips that come in various flavours stand at par with the chips produced overseas,"he said.

Meanwhile, Abdulah Sani Adam, 67, from Kampung Sungai Lang, Banting, a district renowned for its crispy chips, noted that the chips are no longer made at home but in modern factories.

"Due to the popularity, when festive season nears, I see many coming to Banting to buy the chips,"he said.

The snack industry has played an important role in driving the rural economy and enhance the rural people's income, where many of the chip makers work in groups under the concept One Village One Industry.