Untainted milk not hit by scandal
By Chen Jia (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-09-27 07:07

Retailers foresee no major downturn in dairy sales despite the melamine contamination scandal and as customers vote with their wallets against stripping supermarket shelves of untainted brands.

"The sales volume of dairy products has remained stable in recent days," Lu Gang, marketing chief of Shouhang supermarket, told China Daily on Friday.

But Lu said the Beijing-based Sanyuan dairy emerged from the controversy as the hottest brand on the market.

Sanyuan, unlike 22 counterparts, has not been named by authorities as part of the scandal embroiling both powdered and fresh milk suppliers in the past two weeks.

To restore market confidence, commerce and quality authorities have ordered every supermarket in the capital to publish posters of all fresh milk and yogurt produced under the surveillance of relevant quality agencies.

"We choose Sanyuan as it has a better reputation for quality, and it hasn't increased prices so it is much cheaper than imported dairy products," An Qi, a 24-year-old girl, said.

"My worry is that Sanyuan's supply is struggling to meet the needs of customers in the supermarket," Lu said, pointing at two boxes of milk and yogurt marked Sanyuan. "I have waited four to five days to order a new round of products."

"Sanyuan has two channels of supply, including home delivery and supermarket sales," said a marketing staff member, who refused to give her name.

"We right now have enough products for home delivery and are able to take more orders," she said before declining to comment on supermarket sales.

In another Beijing supermarket chain, Merrymart, Chen Jing, a regular customer, said he was surprised he could not buy fresh milk around 10 am, as he usually does, in recent days.

"I saw a long queue for fresh milk until 12 am last Sunday, and all the customers are only waiting for Sanyuan," said the 57-year-old.

"We need to get our confidence back in domestic dairy products because it is no solution for us to buy soy milk in place of milk and yogurt," he added, explaining that his wife has a kidney problem and doctors have told her not to drink soy milk.