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02 November 2011

More consumers going for Vietnamese rice

- Demand for Vietnamese Rice increased by 25 percent year-on-year

- FairPrice to Increase Stock and Hold Prices for FairPrice Jasmine Fragrant Rice from Vietnam till end February 2012

- FairPrice Donates $20,000 to Singapore Red Cross' (SRC) South East Asia Flood Appeal and calls for Customers to Donate Generously to the Cause at all FairPrice Outlets

NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice), one of Singapore's biggest rice importers, revealed today that more consumers are switching to rice from alternative sources such as Vietnam. Since FairPrice first introduced Vietnamese rice to its customers in 2007, demand has gone up with a 25 percent increase in sales compared with the same period last year. Vietnam is now the world's second largest exporter of rice.

The increasing popularity of Vietnamese rice, coupled with growing concerns over shortage of Thai rice and higher prices of export prices, has prompted FairPrice to increase stockpile of its FairPrice Jasmine Fragrant rice from Vietnam to four months to meet higher demand for rice for the upcoming festive seasons. With this increased stockpile, FairPrice has pledged to freeze the prices of its FairPrice Jasmine Fragrant rice from Vietnam till end February 2012, after the Chinese New Year celebrations.

FairPrice shared its strategy to moderate prices of rice at the "Rice for Every Taste" event held at FairPriceXtra@nex mall today. Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, joined FairPrice CEO, Mr Seah Kian Peng at this event. Celebrity chef Eric Teo was also at the event to provide tips on cooking the different types of rice.

Commenting on FairPrice's plan, Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO (Singapore), NTUC FairPrice, said, "FairPrice's role has always been to ensure that essential food items will always be available to our customers at stable and affordable prices. That is why in 2007, we started to import rice from Vietnam to diversify our sources of rice. Having alternative sources of supply helps to stabilise price and supply should one source be disrupted. We are glad to be able to increase our import of rice from Vietnam so that our customers can continue to buy quality rice at stable prices at all FairPrice stores. With our Vietnamese Jasmine Fragrant rice, there is no need to worry about price increase or shortage of rice for the coming festive seasons."

Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter of rice, after Thailand, and its rice has been gaining popularity in Singapore. Sales of Vietnamese rice at FairPrice have risen by 25% from last year. Today Vietnamese rice accounts for about 20% of rice sales at FairPrice. While Thailand is still the largest supplier of rice for FairPrice, demand for Thai rice has dropped to 75% this year from 95% in 2007. FairPrice also offers rice sourced from Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Japan, Korea and USA.

Nutritional Information on Rice

Regardless of its geographic origin, the nutritional composition of white rice is similar. White rice varieties, which include long grain, medium grain and short grain, also have similar nutritional profiles. A typical bowl of white rice (200g) contains about 280kcal, and provides 64g carbohydrate, 5.6g protein, and 0.8g fat.

Dr Grace Soon, Chief Nutritionist, Centre of Excellence (Nutrition), HPB, said, "There is little difference between the nutritional contents of rice from different countries. In general, rice is a rich source of carbohydrates that supplies the body with energy. HPB recommends 5-7 servings of rice* and alternatives (e.g. bread, noodles, chapatti) a day, of which half should be whole-grains. Examples of whole-grains include brown rice and whole-meal bread."

*Half a bowl of rice is equivalent to 1 serving

Donation to South East Asia Flood Appeal

FairPrice will be partnering Singapore Red Cross in contributing to the "South East Asia Flood Appeal". Donation tins will be available at over 250 FairPrice and Cheers stores from 2 November to 30 November 2011.

To kickstart the donation drive, FairPrice has contributed $20,000 to the Flood Appeal. All money collected will go towards the relief efforts in South East Asia countries in Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Earlier this year, FairPrice raised over $233,000 for the Red Cross Japan Disaster Fund, including its contribution of $20,000, to help rebuild homes and lives in Japan following the major earthquake. In 2009, NTUC FairPrice also led a public donation drive through its stores for the Singapore Red Cross Sumatra Earthquake Appeal. A total of over S$76,000 was raised through FairPrice's efforts including a donation of S$20,000 from the supermarket chain.

Mr Seah added, "We work closely with suppliers in South East Asia for our food supplies. We are saddened by the destruction caused by the floods in the region and how it has impacted many lives and families. Our hearts go out to the victims. We hope that by leveraging the vast network of stores we have and in partnering the Singapore Red Cross, we will be able to reach out to the community to help those impacted to rebuild their homes and lives."

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