Japan is no stranger to certain food shortages from time to time. Lapses in the butter supply seem to occur on a somewhat regular basis, but our current lack of the product Milo is sure to hit the sweet-teeth of Japan especially hard.
Milo is a blend of chocolate and malt fortified with nutrients, that mixes with hot or cold milk or water, comparable to Ovaltine in the western hemisphere. It’s especially loved in Japan, where its customer base has recently expanded more deeply into the adult demographic, thanks to recent social media buzz purporting its health benefits.
In fact, it was so successful that in September of this year, dealers and wholesalers ran out of the standard Milo Original 240-gram bags. Nestlé replenished the supply by mid-November, but ravenous, Milo-deprived milk-drinkers quickly consumed it, with estimates of Milo-demand up 700 percent from the previous year.
Now, Nestlé has had to announce that supply of Milo Original 700-gram and 240-gram bags as well as the Milo Original Stick Five-Packs will be suspended for the entire winter.
In other words, it’s all gone. We drank it all…
Nestlé says that the problem is securing more raw materials from Singapore to produce enough Milo. They expect production to be back in full swing sometime after March of 2021.
With news of such an insanely popular product going off the market for a long time, Japan’s notorious resellers have sprung into action, clearing remaining supplies from store shelves.
Flea market websites such as Mercari have also begun filling up with packs of Milo asking for increasingly exorbitant prices. As we journey deeper into the Milo-less winter, these prices will no doubt continue to rise leaving many without their daily fix of chocolate and malt.
Netizens are lamenting both not being able to drink Milo and/or not having been able to buy some themselves and turn a quick profit.
“I should have bought some…”
“My supermarket is completely out.”
“That was my daily treat…”
“How did it get so popular all of a sudden?”
“Wow. It’s delicious and good for you?”
“I’ve drunk it since I was a kid, but now it’s in the filthy hands of resellers.”
“I think Milo has become a unit of currency on Mercari.”
“The same fate awaits the Pizza Potato resellers.”
Although, many people would rather forget that dark period in Japanese history, the great Pizza Potato potato chip shortage of 2017 did end on a rather happy note. However, their producer Calbee issued a surprise announcement that production had resumed and almost instantly shelves were lined again. This turned the tables on resellers who were suddenly left with cases upon cases of Pizza Potato that they could no longer even sell at retail.
Nestlé certainly has the muscle to make such a thing happen too. So take heart, Milo fans in Japan. It will be a long hard winter, but Mercari may very well end up full of discounted brown powder before long.
Sources: Oricon News, Hachima Kiko
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