The outbreak of the deadly lung infection, SARS, in Asia is starting to impact on Arla Foods' sales in the area.
Although eating out is part of the South East Asian lifestyle, the outbreak of SARS has meant that many consumers are now eating at home for fear of being infected and this is beginning to have an impact on Arla Foods' sales in the region. Shipping Assistant Bente Christensen from the Overseas Division reports the first order cancellation and a consignment of Danish mozzarella for pizzas will not now be despatched.
Lars Møller Henriksen from Arla Foods' sales office in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is also reporting a certain reluctance from customers.
"I'm concerned that SARS will affect the food service business most of all. I've received several e-mails from our agents wanting to delay orders.
We can only hope that the situation will increase sales from supermarkets," he says.
Lars Møller Henriksen is responsible for sales of butter and cheese in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, the three countries in which SARS is particularly prevalent.
"In Hong Kong it is now forbidden to hold in-store demonstrations and in Singapore all suppliers of our products have their temperature taken before they are allowed to enter supermarkets," explains Lars Møller Henriksen who has cancelled a trip around South East Asia to visit business associates.
"In general, we're trying to avoid visiting public places and we're on our guard when people return from trips or if they're suffering from SARS-like symptoms."