40. Wheeling FairPrice Closer to Neighbourhoods

Photo: FairPrice on Wheels was initiated during the Circuit Breaker in April 2020. Source: FairPrice Group

When the Circuit Breaker was put in place in April 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19, an unfamiliar hush fell over Singapore as shops shuttered and streets emptied.

With most people confined to their homes, some elderly folks found themselves alone and lost, especially those who lacked family support. That was when FairPrice rolled out the FairPrice on Wheels initiative, which enabled seniors to buy their own groceries without having to venture too far from home and risk catching the virus.

Vans filled with essentials such as rice, bread, canned food, toiletries and vegetables would drive to several mature residential estates every day from 9am to 2pm. FairPrice picked five locations – Commonwealth Link, Telok Blangah Crescent, Telok Blangah Rise, Kampong Glam Community Club and Jalan Kukoh – where more than 30 per cent of the residents are senior citizens.

FairPrice on Wheels pulled to a stop in October 2020, as Singapore eased some of the pandemic-related restrictions. But it made a comeback one month later due to popular demand.

Instead of vans that stocked only a small selection of essential items, the relaunch had an air-conditioned truck that offered more than 200 products, including frozen and dairy products. It plied new locations like Bukit Purmei, Clementi West and West Coast.

With these mobile stores, FairPrice was serving Singaporeans at their doorsteps.

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.