24. 50-cent Hot Coffee and Tea

Photo: NTUC Union members, and Merdeka and Pioneer Generation seniors were treated to 50-cent hot coffee/tea every Wednesday from May 2019 to June 2020. Source: FairPrice Group

Buying a hot beverage for less than a dollar is almost unheard of in Singapore, let alone a mere 50 cents. But for the entire month of May in 2019, union members could sip a cuppa for that low price – in a bid to help them stretch their dollar.

Soon after NTUC Enterprise acquired the Kopitiam chain of food courts and coffeeshops in 2019, which is now under the FairPrice Group, the prices of hot coffee and tea were cut to just 50 cents.

All NTUC Union members could enjoy this discounted price at close to 100 Kopitiam and NTUC FoodFare outlets across Singapore. The promotion subsequently continued every Wednesday until June 2020 for union members and older Singaporeans who were born before 1960, called the Merdeka and Pioneer generations.

This move was to mark the 50th anniversary of the labour movement’s “Modernization Seminar” in 1969 when social enterprises were first mooted. Part of the discounts included a lower price for the quintessential Singapore breakfast set – comprising a cup of hot coffee or tea, kaya toast and two soft-boiled eggs.

Till today, FairPrice Group continues to offer the 50-cent hot coffee and tea deal to union members every May, in celebration of Labour Day.

This just goes to show that bread-and-butter issues will always be close to the Group’s heart.

Since its humble beginnings in a corner of Toa Payoh, NTUC FairPrice has become the quintessential Singaporean supermarket. The leap from a single store to a grocery giant is a tale of retail reinvention – a half-century journey that saw the cooperative confront crises and challenges, revamps and even robbers.

As it expanded and evolved, FairPrice never wavered from its core mission: to moderate the cost of living for consumers. It Takes a Great Deal - A Catalogue of FairPrice Group Stories encapsulates the birth of the consumer cooperative in 1973 and its transformation into a $4 billion food enterprise that is now called FairPrice Group.

Through 50 remarkable stories, we celebrate the people, products and places that mark significant milestones for the food retailer over the last five decades, charting its growth and successes in the past, present and into the future.