Chinese netizens search for biscuits, canned meat after Beijing advises to stock up on food

The Commerce Ministry had encouraged people to stock up on daily necessities for winter or emergencies. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Army biscuits and luncheon meat are among the most searched items online by Chinese citizens after the government urged households this week to stock up on food and daily necessities.

Orders for compressed biscuits, a common military ration, have soared on China's e-commerce platforms, with some vendors running out of stock, according to local media reports.

Other trending products include rice, soy sauce, chilli sauce and noodles, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's Taobao website shows.

The top search on is "household stockpile list".

The surge in interest follows a notice from the Commerce Ministry on Monday evening (Nov 1) asking local authorities to ensure adequate food supply and encouraging people to stock up on daily necessities for winter or emergencies.

It sparked speculation online on whether the move was linked to a widening coronavirus outbreak, a cold snap, or even rising tensions with Taiwan.

A ministry official responded to those concerns on Tuesday, saying daily supplies are sufficient and fully guaranteed.

The state-run Economic Daily also put out a report saying that the notice was meant to make sure people are prepared for potential quarantine during the current coronavirus outbreak.

A list of recommended emergency household supplies issued by Jiangsu province in October also made its rounds on social media.

The list included instant noodles, bottled water, compressed biscuits and luncheon meat.

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