35. FairPrice Group: A Merger for the Consumer

Photo: FairPrice Group’s leadership and staff convene for a townhall following its formation. Source: FairPrice Group

Singaporeans’ eating habits were evolving. Time starved, home-cooked meals were becoming increasingly rare, replaced by hawker fare, takeaways and food deliveries.

While groceries and food services continued to take up a quarter of each person’s expenditure, this shift meant that the proportions could change. More and more money could eventually be spent on cooked food instead of at supermarkets.

And this would inevitably dampen FairPrice’s social mission to moderate the cost of living since its business focused on groceries. It was a possibility that NTUC Enterprise, the parent organisation of FairPrice, was already sensitive to in the mid-2010s.

Hence in 2019, NTUC Enterprise made a bold move to serve a larger “share of stomach” by merging four entities – NTUC FairPrice, NTUC Link, NTUC Foodfare and newly acquired food court operator Kopitiam. With this, FairPrice Group was born.

In announcing the move, Mr Seah Kian Peng, then-Group Chief Executive Officer of FairPrice Group, said: “As modern lifestyles become more complex and demanding, FairPrice Group’s integrated products and services – from groceries to prepared food – will enable us to serve consumers through different life stages.”

“Through our omnichannel retail and dining network, we are well poised to deliver greater value to consumers, providing them ease and convenience.”

Armed with a new tagline, “Everything Food Made Easy,” the Group set out to better serve the Singapore population, along with the twin goals of bringing greater value to all and being more customer-centric.

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.