Price freeze for popular seafood, vegetables at FairPrice from Jan 18 through CNY period

Price benchmarking exercises from Jan 12 showed that prices of popular fresh produce sold at wet markets have gone up by an average of about 35 per cent, compared with prices at FairPrice.

Anjali Raguraman

Anjali Raguraman

The Straits Times


Seafood items and selected vegetables will have their prices locked. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

January 19, 2024

SINGAPORE – Prices of 13 popular seafood and vegetable items sold at FairPrice outlets islandwide will be frozen from Jan 18 through the Chinese New Year period to help consumers cope with rising costs.

Seafood items such as Chinese pomfret, red grouper and grey prawns, as well as selected vegetables such as nai bai and shiitake mushrooms, will have their prices locked, the FairPrice Group (FPG) announced on Jan 18.

“Seafood and vegetables are among the categories that are most impacted by the price increases during Chinese New Year,” noted Mr Andy Chang, director of fresh and frozen products at FPG.

“Prices (at FairPrice) are being pegged against those of the wet market because historically, we’ve realised that these categories see the largest spike and price fluctuations, so we thought it would be a good time for us to make sure we are competitive in terms of pricing,” he added.

Price benchmarking exercises conducted by FPG from Jan 12 showed that prices of popular fresh produce sold at wet markets – such as Chinese pomfret and red grouper – have gone up by an average of about 35 per cent, compared with prices at FairPrice.

The group first instituted a price freeze for fish and seafood in 2023. In 2024, selected vegetables were added to the list following feedback from customers, said Mr Chang.

Mr Vipul Chawla, group chief executive of FPG, said: “Chinese New Year holds immense significance for customers across Singapore, and we are mindful of the challenges that families may be facing.

“Higher demand for produce like seafood and vegetables during the festive period inevitably drives prices up, and our price freeze is aimed at helping customers alleviate this pressure.”

Some customers have felt the pinch over the years.

“Every year, wet markets increase the price, especially during Chinese New Year,” said Madam Ong Beng Keow, 64, who shops at supermarkets near her home instead of the wet market.

The part-time waitress was among customers at FairPrice’s outlet at Northpoint City in Yishun on Jan 18 stocking up on seafood to freeze, and other groceries ahead of Chinese New Year.

Feb 10 is the first day of the coming Chinese Year of the Dragon.

Madam Ong’s daughter-in-law Chai Xiu Fen, 29, who is a nurse, said: “Today we plan to get prawns, but usually for fish, we prefer to get it fresh… If there really isn’t going to be a price increase, then fresh fish is better, and I will buy it a few days before we’re going to cook it.”

Others, like a retiree in her 70s who wanted to be known only as Madam Chin, said they shop at both supermarkets and wet markets, and have no preference for where they purchase seafood as their families usually eat out during Chinese New Year.

On Jan 17, FPG said it will extend till Jan 24 its promotion of giving $8 return vouchers for every $80 worth of Community Development Council supermarket vouchers used in a single transaction at its outlets.

The promotion was extended by a week to benefit more customers.

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