SINGAPORE: From Thursday (Jan 31), consumers will no longer be able to buy FairPrice groceries via honestbee, a delivery and concierge service.
Honestbee said in a statement that it has "temporarily paused" its partnership with FairPrice.
"At honestbee, we are committed to provide the best product and service offerings for our customers. Reviewing our processes and service levels with our partners is part of this continuous process to achieve this," said an honestbee Singapore spokesperson in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries.
FairPrice said the decision is due to a "review of the existing operations and collaboration process", adding that consumers can still buy FairPrice products online through the supermarket's web portal and mobile app.
The partnership suspension comes after honestbee launched a new grocery store last October called habitat by honestbee - its first foray into brick-and-mortar retail.
On its website and app, customers can order groceries from a selection of retailers. A personal concierge, known as a "shopper bee" will then pick the products from the store and they will be delivered to customers.
According to a concierge shopper, who did not want to be named, honestbee "barely gave us any notice" of the suspension.
"For us shoppers, we started hearing this news from NTUC (FairPrice) since last night, but only received an email (from honestbee at) around 1pm, telling us that all shopper positions will no longer be available," said the shopper, pointing out that the suspension comes just before Chinese New Year.
"Honestbee offers no explanation to all shoppers, and drivers and even coordinators."
In an email sent to concierge shoppers which was seen by Channel NewsAsia, honestbee invited them to take on roles at habitat. "We are currently in the midst of exploring more opportunities for you," it said.
In response to queries, honestbee said its "shopper bees" are freelancers.
"We are sensitive to the concerns our bees are facing - especially when this has happened close to the Chinese New Year holidays. Many of our bees - although are part-timers with us - have been a critical part of our family who have played a key role in our success," said the spokesperson.
"We want to assure our bees that they are empowered to choose and can continue to shop from other merchants or take on a role at other areas of our businesses in the meantime."