Tue, Aug 30, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Low sales of mooncakes raise foundation worries

Staff Reporter

Sales of mooncakes made by people with disabilities have not only lagged behind those of last year, but they are even worse than in 2009, when Typhoon Morakot devastated parts of southern Taiwan, social welfare groups said over the weekend.

The Children Are Us Foundation, which aims to sell 100,000 boxes of mooncakes, has received orders for only 50,000 so far, even though it is cooperating with Chunghwa Post Co to deliver the mooncakes to the countryside.

Orders placed with the Eden Social Welfare Foundation are also down 20 percent from last year, not even reaching half of the foundation’s 40,000-box mark.

Even the Yu-Cheng Social Welfare Foundation, with its large Canton-style mooncakes selling for NT$100 each, has felt the squeeze, as orders have not even reached half the amount placed last year or the year before.

Syin-Lu Social Welfare Foundation’s mooncakes, in a joint venture with Kuo Yuan Ye Foods Co Ltd, was hoping to sell 4,000 boxes, but so far it has only managed to sell 1,500.

Sales by the Maria Social Welfare Foundation have reached the same figure as last year, but they are still 70 percent from the target of 13,000 boxes.

According to the Children Are Us Foundation, during the same period last year and the year before, orders placed reached 80 percent of its goal. The foundation said that orders this year may have been affected by the plasticizer scare in June, with people worried about the safety of baked foods.

The foundation added that corporations that had helped them before said they had used up their allotted donations after the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

The Eden Social Welfare Foundation agreed that the plasticizer scare had greatly affected consumer confidence, adding that while the prices of ingredients had gone up, “sales in the last two months seemed to have hit a deep-freeze.”

The foundation said that work shelters cost a lot to run and have limited production capacity, making it hard to compete with lower-priced goods from other mooncake stores.

There are more than 80 work shelters across the country producing mooncakes, and companies, corporations and governments have elected to “spread the good will,” buying a little from each one, the foundation added.

Most of the social welfare groups said that income from the sale of mooncakes constitutes about one-third of their annual income, and salaries for their physically and mentally challenged workers all come from this holiday’s sales.

Back in 2009, government agencies even ordered mooncakes to be delivered to the areas devastated by Morakot, the social foundations said, adding that no such order has come through this year.

Though President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) both participated in the Ministry of the Interior’s Mid--Autumn Loving Gift’s promotion on Aug. 9, sales have yet to experience a spike, social welfare groups said.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer

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