34. Unity: Daily Dose of Wellness

Photo: There are around 80 Unity outlets today selling a wide range of affordable health supplements, healthcare and skincare products, medicines and first aid items. Source: FairPrice Group

When it comes to health, we never know what we have until it’s missing. A throbbing head, stuffed sinuses or a stomach ache can upend one’s plans for the day. When a minor illness strikes, a pharmacy on hand can make all the difference. This is where your nearest Unity outlet can help set your day back on track.

With the aim of moderating the cost of healthcare essentials, the social enterprise, then called NTUC Healthcare, was set up in 1992 when the price of health services started to worry families. It started with four pharmacies located within NTUC FairPrice stores. Four years later, in 1996, the name of the pharmacy was rebranded to the “Unity” we know today. In 2011, NTUC Healthcare was renamed NTUC Unity Healthcare before merging with NTUC Eldercare to form NTUC Health in 2014.

When the health and wellness market continued to grow rapidly, NTUC Enterprise in 2017 decided that the best way to serve consumers was for NTUC Health to sell its retail pharmacy arm to NTUC FairPrice. FairPrice’s extensive presence in the retail market would allow the pharmacy to expand its services and cater to more consumers, while also enjoying the benefits of economies of scale that would help lower the costs of products. Now, growing to around 80 outlets – with some being standalone stores – Unity’s shelves are lined with a wide range of affordable health supplements, healthcare and skincare products, medicines and first aid items.

Unity also stands ready to overcome any health threat that knocks on Singapore’s doors. Just as they were there to sell N95 masks during the haze in 2015 and ART kits during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020, Unity continues to stand steadfast in its role of ensuring Singapore’s health and wellness.

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.