April 10, 2008 – Amid high food inflation, Singapore’s largest retailer NTUC FairPrice is taking the lead to help consumers mitigate rising costs of living with its “Stretch Your Dollar With Housebrand Rice and Frozen Meat” initiative. Today, FairPrice shared cost-saving tips with about 80 union leaders attending the NTUC Learning Journey educational session held at its Fresh Food Distribution Centre.
NTUC FairPrice Group CEO Mr Tan Kian Chew said: “As a socially responsible retailer, we aim to help consumers mitigate rising costs. Through the Learning Journey, we hope to raise awareness for cost-saving alternatives that can help consumers further stretch their dollar. For example, by switching from a prime grade to a medium grade of rice, consumers can save 20 per cent or more, while some frozen meat can cost 50 per cent less than chilled meat.”
Commenting on the recent increase in rice prices, Mr Tan said “Lately, we read in the newspapers about rice crisis in several countries. The shortages have given rise to hefty increase in price of rice worldwide, including Singapore. It is a worldwide issue, so it is important for Singapore to manage our stockpile and imports efficiently, but there is no need to hoard rice as there is ample supply of rice in Thailand.”
During the NTUC Learning Journey session, NTUC FairPrice Director of Integrated Purchasing Mr Tng Ah Yiam explained how consumers can reduce their grocery bills by choosing FairPrice housebrand rice, which is priced about 10 percent cheaper than comparable brands in the market. Mr Tng also mentioned that FairPrice housebrand rice offers a wide range of rice grades, varieties and packaging at diverse price points to suit different tastes and budgets.
Ms Dewiani Muljadi, nutritionist at Food & Nutritionist Specialists, said: “The nutritional content of white rice is the same, across all the grades and prices. White rice consists mainly of carbohydrates, and is also an important source of Vitamin B complex. By choosing basic grades of rice, consumers can continue to enjoy a nutritious staple but at a lower price.”
Dr Paul Chiew, Agri-food and Veterinary Authority’s Deputy Director, Veterinary Public Health, gave a presentation titled “Eat Well for Less, Choose Frozen Meat”, about the benefits of choosing frozen meat as well as proper storage and handling methods. FairPrice is a supporter of AVA’s public education campaign to encourage Singaporeans to choose frozen meat as a cheaper alternative to chilled meat.
At the session, union leaders gained greater understanding of FairPrice’s stringent food safety standards on a tour of FairPrice’s Fresh Food Distribution Centre, a purpose-built refrigerated distribution facility for temperature-sensitive, fresh and chilled products. FairPrice also held a blind tasting session for participants to sample different grades of rice as well as a sampling of rice dishes cooked with different varieties of rice.
At the event, guest of honor NTUC Secretary-General Mr Lim Swee Say also announced NTUC’s latest initiative to help low-income union members cope with the inflation through the distribution of $4 million worth of vouchers.
FairPrice’s Stretch Your Dollar Initiative
FairPrice launched its Stretch Your Dollar programme last December, offering strategies for consumers to stretch their grocery dollar amid rising inflation. A key component of this programme was offering a 5 per cent discount on more than 500 FairPrice housebrand items. As housebrand items are generally priced 10 to 15 percent cheaper, the scheme is estimated to help consumers save 15 to 20 per cent on their shopping bill. The discount scheme proved to be so well-received by Singaporeans that FairPrice extended it to end April when it was due to end in February.