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10 June 2007

Exercise your choice, consumers told

- FairPrice housebrand condensed milk sales rose 40% for holding price

Singapore, 10 June 2007 - Against a backdrop of milk price increases, NTUC FairPrice’s (“FairPrice”) housebrand condensed milk stood out among the pack with its price remaining intact at 90 cents per tin.  This is a whopping 80 per cent price difference compared with some other brands retailing at as high as $1.70 per tin at some supermarket chains in the current market situation.

The outcome? Consumers exercised their choice and FairPrice housebrand condensed milk saw a 40 per cent jump in sales within one month of price adjustments of the other brands.

“In fulfilling our social role in moderating the cost of living in Singapore, offering consumers an affordable alternative is one of the measures FairPrice has taken,” said Mr Seah Kian Peng, its Managing Director (Singapore).  Mr Seah, who is also Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, was at its Bedok supermarket this morning to welcome Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry, and members of the Committee Against GST Profiteering (CAP), who were making their rounds to spread the anti-GST profiteering message.

In February, FairPrice took the lead in pledging to absorb the two per cent GST increase on 400 essential items for a period of six months.  Reiterating this, Mr Seah added: “We remain committed to this initiative. Besides, we are also doing our part to support the CAP’s drive to curb GST profiteering practices in the food retail industry.”

Elaborating on FairPrice’s part, Mr Seah said: “To ensure that the price increases are not GST-related, FairPrice will first seek justification from suppliers for any price adjustments. We will try to hold the price for as long as possible. If a price increase is inevitable, we want to be the last to adjust the price. FairPrice will also try to bring in affordable alternatives for consumers. Our housebrand condensed milk is one example.”

The recent price increases of some products initiated by the manufacturers at all supermarket chains were triggered by an increase in business costs. Besides encouraging suppliers to step forth to explain to the public, FairPrice also tried to moderate the increase as much as possible to help soften the impact.    

Commending FairPrice’s move, Mr Lee said: “Singapore imports most of its food and essential items and some price increases are beyond our control. However, we can make personal choices on what we consume. Businesses can also manage costs by choosing where they source from.” Mr Lee added: “By sourcing competitively and providing alternatives, FairPrice is serving its customers well, and playing an important role in maintaining price stability.”

To drive home the message that consumers can also exercise their choice by trying out affordable alternatives, Mr Lee distributed free bags of rice, sugar, cooking oil, bread, biscuits and condensed milk which are FairPrice housebrand products to some elderly and needy residents in Bedok. 

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