SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice on Tuesday (Aug 6) launched its largest supermarket and pharmacy yet, featuring new retail concepts like a food preparation service and in-store vegetable harvesting, in a bid to compete with online grocers.
The supermarket chain said that the FairPrice Xtra outlet at VivoCity offers a new take on traditional brick-and-mortar shopping, which was its way of responding to the changing needs and behaviour of customers, and staying relevant.
“We noticed ... that our customers are changing … the needs, the wants and the lifestyles that they lead,” said deputy CEO Elaine Heng.
For example, customers who are time-starved can take advantage of the food preparation service at FairPrice Xtra, which allows them to pick from an assortment of vegetables in-store and get them cut, sliced or diced at no charge.
Patrons can also choose their meat and seafood, and have them either pre-marinated or grilled in-store for immediate consumption.
On the back of Singapore’s push to grow its urban agriculture industry and to increase its food sustainability efforts, the outlet also dedicated a space to showcase how indoor hydroponics farming works.
“More and more Singaporeans will be eating hydroponics-grown vegetables and I think it is a good job to be here trying to educate them and giving them a sense of what the future would look like,” chairman of Comcrop Allan Lim said.
Eight varieties of vegetables are grown in the showcase, with a total yield of up to 3kg. Mr Lim said his workers visit the store once every two days to harvest the vegetables for sale, with additional supply of crops being sent from the Comcrop’s rooftop greenhouses in Woodlands.
The new 90,000 sq ft retail space also carries more than 35,000 products from all over the world.
Speaking at the launch, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the extensive array of products available helps diversify Singapore’s food supply chain and contributes to national food security.
“Every day, there are many disruptions to the supply chains, but for the average Singaporean, we will never even have the chance to feel it,” Mr Chan said. “In many parts of the world, when something happens, you will find the shelf being emptied or the products not coming in for months, but this is something we’ve avoided.”
Other highlights of the store include bicycle and luggage repair services, as well as a dedicated play area for children.