Battle of the Supermarkets

Not sure if you feel the same, but once taken-for-granted, now the Supermarket has become almost a sacred place. You need to queue to get in, and, I’m not sure about you, once inside, I don’t just hurriedly get the stuff in my groceries list. I would scan the shelves to see if there is anything I missed out. In doing so, i actually take more notice of all the items on the rack. It suddenly dawns on me that everything that sits on the shelf serves a purpose, their value finally given recognition. We should count ourselves blessed for having such a varied and diverse range of food items, don’t you think?

So, do you stick to a certain Supermarket for your groceries? I’m pretty sure NTUC FairPrice is still the more popular one for most people. Fairprice is unbeatable when it comes to cleanliness and tidiness. But that is something i can easily forgo in favour of value and convenience. So, I’m going to tell you what i think of the other popular Supermarkets.

Sheng Siong is the main competitor to FairPrice. They have a huge range of products, especially for fresh produce, for which they import many items directly from China, Vietnam, Malaysia and even India. They also stock a large range of biscuits and sundry items. They generally have better pricing than FairPrice, and if forced to choose between the two, I probably would count more on Sheng Siong to satisfy my groceries shopping in one single trip.

What I buy from Sheng Siong: i find that their eggs (in the typical 30s per tray) are usually larger in size (than FairPrice’s). The frozen pork, from Brazil, is superb. It tastes just like fresh pork, and needless to say, is much cheaper. Also, their ham is good value at $2.40 per packet ($2 during promotion).

It should be obvious which one is from Sheng Siong and which one from FairPrice. The price difference is only 30 cents per 30s tray (the Sheng Siong one bought a week ago)

Prime Supermarket is usually like a neighbourhood supermarket, smaller in size but well stocked. It’s a grab-and-go place. The fresh produce section is almost comparable to a wet market, and in fact, usually cheaper than the wet market. The potatoes (and similar items) are sold per piece, which i find better than buying a big packet at a time. I think this reduces food wastage. They can weigh the items during check-out, which is a big plus. You don’t need to separately queue to get your items weighed first before going to the check-out line. I feel much better about buying my fresh produce here than at FairPrice, and I get the convenience of buying any other Supermarket items also, under one roof. You can check out their Joo Seng store, which is like a flagship store, if you live not too far from there.

What I buy from Prime Supermarket: fresh produce – priced around $1.20 per bundle for typical items like Chye Sim and Sio Pak Choy. It’s a fairly small bundle though, but good enough for 3 adults. Potatoes and similar items as mentioned above. They do have promotional priced items littered around the store, and they’re well worth picking up, but it’s more of the convenience that attracts me to shop here.

Ang Moh Supermarket: They are like the perennial underdog in the Supermarket scene. Unbeatable pricing – you’ll have to see it to believe it. One caveat though – pay in cash or NETS only. Keep in mind that this means you lose out on the 5% cash rebate you usually get from paying with a credit card. I think many people go there to buy diapers and formula milk, but generally many of their groceries are cheaper than all the other Supermarkets. They do sell fresh produce also, which are also very well priced. Like Prime, they are also more of a neighbourhood setup, with a more limited range of goods, but still more than you would expect.

What I buy from Ang Moh Supermarket: like, everything. Just look at the item pricing and if it is a pleasant surprise, grab into your cart, simple.

Now, to buy really really cheap vegetables, I go to the market at Seng Kang Square. There may be other comparable vegetable seller stalls across the island, but I would say this one at Seng Kang Square is hard to beat. I’ve been their regular customer for years. Just today, I bought 3 pieces of capsicum for $1. 3 pieces of lemons for $1 too, can you believe it. 4 Japanese cucumbers for a buck, and the list goes on. They also sell Chinese cabbage at $2.50 per bunch (price went up to $2.80 now), where it would have easily cost $5.50 or more anywhere else.

More than 30 minutes queue to get in, but still worth the wait

Especially during this period, you should reconsider your strategy for avoiding crowds, keeping your shopping trip as short as possible and stretching your dollar. It is a good chance to break habits and re-learn many things, not just where do your Supermarket shopping.

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