37. From Preschoolers to Army Recruits: Serving Up Energy-boosting Meals

Photo: Recruits were treated to a Strong Burger (pictured) before their 24km route march in 2020. Source: FairPrice Group

The 24km route march during National Service is a rite of passage for almost all Singaporean men, and arguably the biggest milestone of a recruit’s life in the army.

To give recruits an extra boost of strength as they prepare for the arduous trek from Changi to Marina Bay, carrying a heavy field pack no less, Foodfare created a special meal in 2020 – the Strong Burger, complete with sides of french fries, blanched broccoli and fruit cocktail.

Since then, “special meals” have become occasional treats that recruits at Pulau Tekong can look forward to, especially at milestones such as Adjustment Week, or during festive occasions.

Such unique offerings followed Foodfare’s integration into FairPrice Group in 2019. Foodfare was refocused as a business-to-business brand with two divisions – Institutional Catering Management and Food Manufacturing Division.

Building on its expertise in institutional catering – having supplied nutritious meals to SAF servicemen since 1997, and subsequently to the Civil Defence Academy and National Service Training Centre cookhouses – Foodfare has also expanded its services to nursing homes and childcare centres.

It is now supplying cooked food to some 100 NTUC First Campus and PAP Community Foundation preschools, serving 9,000 students, 17 nursing and destitute homes, and a community hospital.

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.