Blogger Phillip Ang highlighted on Tuesday (15 June) the price differences for products sold at local supermarkets NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong, noting how NTUC Fairprice has been “ripping off consumers for decades”.
Mr Ang posted a photo on Facebook which shows that the same brand of detergents in Sheng Siong are being sold at a much lower price than those in NTUC Fairprice.
He wrote in the post: “NTUC Fairprice has been ripping off consumers for decades.”
In his previous post on 2 June, Mr Ang also compared the price of mangoes in NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong.
He posted a photo that shows NTUC FairPrice is selling mangoes at S$4.95 for one mango, and S$6.95 for two, while Sheng Siong only sells at S$2.55 for one mango, and S$3.99 for two mangoes.
“Isn’t it silly to pay for membership, only to be ripped off?” said Mr Ang.
Mr Ang noted that NTUC FairPrice is “no longer the co-operative” but rather “a profit-seeking entity”, given the high price of its products.
“The fake co-operative charges suppliers/wholesalers a slotting fee which is a percentage of the price of product displayed, ie higher prices benefit NTUC more. If prices are reduced, so will Fakeprice’s profits,” he noted.
The blogger also compared the foodcourt prices in Kopitiam and Koufu in another Facebook post on 11 June, pointing out that the Kopitiam has “the highest foodcourt prices” ever since it was acquired by NTUC Enterprise in 2018.
Citing The Straits Times’ report titled “NTUC FairPrice, Foodfare and Kopitiam to be grouped under one umbrella to keep food costs low for consumers” published on 22 October 2019, Mr Ang said: “Easy ripoff by NTUC FairPrice, thanks to mainstream media fake news.”
Inaccurate depiction of pricing, says NTUC Fairprice
Responding to TOC’s query on the 15 June Facebook post, a spokesperson from FairPrice said that the Facebook post in question is an inaccurate depiction and is also an unfair comparison.
“It compares specific promotional prices against the regular recommended prices of similar products at FairPrice stores. The prices of these products, when on promotion previously at our stores, had either matched the said discounted prices or were lower.”
“We caution the public to be wary of information disseminated on the Internet or social media from unknown or unverified sources. For clarifications, consumers may contact us directly at our Customer Relations Hotline at 6552 2722 or through email at [email protected].”
Netizens called out NTUC FairPrice for “profiteering”
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of Mr Ang’s posts, netizens pointed out that many other products in NTUC FairPrice are being sold at high prices compared to other retailers, with many calling out NTUC FairPrice for “profiteering”.
One netizen wrote: “NTUC pricing is not cheaper even when we put aside promotions. In addition, NTUC charges a ‘service fee’ of $3.99 regardless of amount of purchase, plus a delivery fee of between $3 to $5 for purchase below $79. Other online grocery stores provide free delivery for purchase above $40/$50/$60 without any extra service fee payment.”
Several netizens even suggested boycotting NTUC FairPrice and urged people to support “small retailers” instead.
PAP MP Seah Kian Peng is leading NTUC FairPrice as its CEO
NTUC FairPrice is a co-operative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). It has about 100 supermarkets across Singapore, with over 160 outlets of Cheers convenience stores island-wide.
The supermarket chain is headed by chief executive Seah Kian Peng, who is also the People’s Action Party (PAP) MP for Marine Parade GRC.
Mr Seah has also been appointed as Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise in 2019, the holding entity and single largest shareholder of the NTUC social enterprises.
These social enterprises include NTUC FairPrice, NTUC First Campus, NTUC Foodfare, NTUC Health, NTUC Income, Kopitiam, NTUC LearningHub, NTUC Link, Mercatus and MoneyOwl.
Every year, FairPrice offers NTUC Union Members and FairPrice shareholders dividends, along with cash-back rebates for all purchases made at FairPrice supermarkets island-wide, including FairPrice Xtra, FairPrice Homemart, FairPrice Finest and FairPrice Xpress – excluding Cheers outlets.
As a co-operative, instead of paying tax, it contributes to Singapore Labour Foundation (SLF) based on a set rate.
According to the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth’s (MCCY) website, co-operative contributions to the SLF for the financial year ended 31 December 2019 was S$72.2 million.