30X30:Our Hunger for Food Security

The story of food security in Singapore

Category: supermarkets

SG Fresh Produce II : Eye on the Price

Hi everyone, welcome back. As mentioned in the last blog post, I conducted a survey at the start of September to get an idea about what my friends felt about food security.

I realised that most respondents were not too familiar with the various local farms in Singapore. I asked respondents to list as many food farms as possible and vetted through their answers.

Most people could not name specific farms (although they were aware that Kranji/Lim Chu Kang had some and that there were fish, poultry and that one goat milk farm). This shows that the brand recognition of our local farms isn’t that high.

I looked back at the word cloud shown in last week’s post and realised that both “cheap” and “expensive” were commonly associated with local produce. I decided this warranted another survey and expanded the target audience to family and my hallmates.

Here is the breakdown of the demographics:


I asked respondents if they thought local produce was cheaper or more expensive. It appears that most of us were not sure, but fewer people thought that local produce was cheaper.

I avoided phrasing it as a agree/disagree question so as to not influence their answer, but “I think local produce is not sure” doesn’t make sense haha

Is this really the case? As mentioned in the last post, NTUC Fairprice carried more local produce than other supermarkets online. I compared local produce types on NTUC with imported produce from NTUC, Sheng Shiong and Red Mart, selecting the cheapest option for both local and imported produce, ignoring temporary offers. Here are my results:

Item Domestic




Cheaper option % difference from imports
Bean Sprouts (taugeh) 0.35 0.38 Singapore -7.9%
Xiao Bai Cai 0.41* / 0.56 0.40 Malaysia 2.5%/40%
Kow Peack Cai/ Jiu Bai Cai

(Not sure if this is a Bai Cai variant similar to Xiao Bai Cai)

0.40 NIL NA NA
Baby Kai Lan 0.63 0.78 Singapore -19.2%
Cai Xin variants 0.41*/ 0.57 0.40 Malaysia 2.5%/42.5%
Round Spinach 0.41* 0.38 Malaysia 7.9%
Barramundi 4.33 3.90 Vietnam 11.0%
eggs 0.40 0.27 Malaysia 48.1%

Prices marked * are Pasar brand vegetables that are primarily sourced from Singapore but may use Malaysian produce to meet shortfalls. There is no difference in price between the local and Malaysian variants. I have included the next cheapest SGFP certified alternative if available.

Taugeh was a shoo-in and I struggled to find imports for that. It turns out that 70% of taugeh is grown locally. While our barramundi may be more expensive, we have a surprisingly large number of suppliers of fresh and frozen versions. While the price difference in eggs may appear significant, this was because local brands did not carry the larger  30 – egg trays and most chose to differentiate themselves in terms of freshness and nutritional value. If local egg farms are aiming to portray freshness, it may not make sense to sell the larger variants at supermarkets that may take longer for the average consumer to finish. I suspect they do sell in bulk to stall owners instead. Moreover, at the point of writing the cheapest local egg sold is actually on discount at $0.35/100g (29.6% more expensive than imports) while being lower in cholesterol with added Vitamin E.

While there are cheaper imported leafy vegetables, the price difference is minimal. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents were willing to pay up to 10% more for local produce.

What’s interesting is that originally 44% of respondents were in principle unwilling to pay more before I quantified the price difference.

So, while local produce may not necessarily always be cheaper, the price difference is minimal and may be made up by the difference in quality such as freshness.

As we can see, when it comes to food, price is not the sole determinant. In conclusion, local produce can be competitive with imports even at the current price levels.

Through the course of these two posts, I’ve identified a few limitations with the SG Fresh Produce scheme. I’d be wrapping up this “trilogy” next week!


Ee Kin


SG Fresh Produce

Hi everyone, welcome back. Today, we are looking into efforts to support local produce.

Before we look into the current measures, let’s take a quick look at what has been done before. In 1971, Singapore took part in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s coin programme, which started in 1966 and saw around 100 participating countries.

1971 Singapore 5 cent coin collected by this blogger.

Now this was in 1971 and was probably referring to capture fisheries instead of just aquaculture. As mentioned in slide 49 of today’s lecture, the percentage of biologically sustainable fish stocks was comfortably above 75% then.

So what has Singapore done to increase awareness of local food production? In February this year, SFA announced the launch the SG Fresh Produce (SGFP) logo that has been rolled out in August 2020.

Extracted from “Supporting Local Produce” https://www.sfa.gov.sg/food-farming/sgfoodstory/supporting-local-produce

This logo emphasizes that the food is local and fresh, and uses the “SG Brand mark” which is apparently the SG in a circle which has been used since the SG50 celebrations. This brand mark is also tied to the “Passion Made Possible” slogan, which has been our tourism slogan since 2017. Those in GE1101E this sem may be familiar with that…

Anyway, SFA has really been ramping up the exposure for this logo. I even chanced upon an advertisement just outside Kent Ridge MRT station!

This seems to be the main ad tying all the others together. They ran in a loop with other ads.

Beyond SFA, supermarkets have also started to roll them out. Here are screenshots of the online versions of Sheng Shiong and NTUC Fairprice:

I find Sheng Shiong’s online platform to be the more conducive of the two. Straight on the home page, shoppers get to view a category just for products farmed in Singapore with the SGFP logo displayed prominently.

Home page of Sheng Shiong’s online store, https://allforyou.sg/ retrieved 2 October 2020

SG Fresh Produces category, https://allforyou.sg/sg-fresh-produces retrieved 2 October 2020 

In contrast, on Fairprice’s website, I first had to filter by item type then by country of origin (which is a great feature Sheng Shiong lacks) whereby I was directed to this page. I’m not too sure why some of the products featured here do not have the SGFP logo, perhaps they are undergoing certification.

NTUC online store, vegetables filtered by country of origin, https://www.fairprice.com.sg/category/fruits-vegetables?filter=Country%20Of%20Origin%3ASingapore retrieved 2 October 2020

As for the physical supermarkets, I have not noticed this sign much. Having to print collaterals as well as any necessary redesign of layout may take a while for each of their stores.


Personally, I quite like the SGFP logo. I find it refreshingly simple and to the point. Even though Passion Made Possible is not my favourite tourism slogan (and I’m sure quite a few of us did the GE1101E project on creating a new slogan), increasing it’s exposure to the local population will help to build a positive geographical image (lol) associated with it. It can also further solidify the SG Brand Mark, which was just announced last week. The brand mark is expected to be expanded to the local fashion and beauty sector soon.

The SGFP logo also highlights the key selling point of local produce, that of freshness. This seems to be in line with most of your expectations.

In a survey conducted at the start of this semester, I asked for your opinion of local produce. As can be seen in this word cloud, the main positive adjective associated is “Fresh”.

Word cloud regarding local produce

What were some of your thoughts regarding local food production? Stay tuned as I will be disclosing more of my findings next week!


Ee Kin

Fish, Leafy Vegetables and Eggs

Hi everyone, welcome back 🙂 For a quick recap, we learnt about the agriculture scene in Singapore since the 40s, and how food security is not a new concept.

So where does that bring us today? Before I started this blog, I did a quick survey about what my friends (around three quarters were BES course mates) knew about food security.

Seems like we all have a lot to learn!

While most of us were reasonably sure about eggs and vegetables, a significant percentage of people were unable to identify what else Singapore produced.

Currently, a quarter of eggs, a tenth of fish, and 14% of leafy vegetables consumed in Singapore are grown locally. Of all 220 farms, 77 farms grow leafy vegetables, 121 farm fish (of which 109 are offshore) and just 5 produce eggs. I find it interesting that eggs, which we are most self-sufficient, have the least number of farms. This is especially noticeable when compared to fish farms. Is there a need for the consolidation of fish farms in the immediate future to achieve economies of scale? There certainly is room for cooperation. In 2015, waters off Pasir Ris were affected by algal bloom. Less affected farms took mitigation measures early, such as by temporarily transferring fish to farms in other areas. Larger farms with branches in different areas may be better able to handle these transfers at the first sign of trouble. It is also not as if fish farming is still in its infancy in Singapore. As early as 1984, “marine cage net fish farms” were in operation and accounted for 2% of fish consumed locally. If consolidation is not possible, fish farms could look into forming some sort of consortium which facilities cooperation and risk-sharing. After all, algal blooms are expected to be more common due to climate change and other anthropogenic reasons (Gobler, 2020). On the other hand, there are also risks to having just a small number of large companies. Should one company close due to financial mismanagement, local supply will be heavily affected. Of course, eggs and fish are very different products and it may not be possible to compare their markets quantitively.

It is also interesting that only half the participants surveyed identified fish as the top 3 products. I suppose this could be because most farms are offshore and barely noticed by Singaporeans. Moreover, fish are often sold without much information other than price and name.

Fish sold at my local supermarket

There is little information about their origin, unlike eggs and supermarket vegetables which at the very least have the farm’s name on it. Certainly, more can be done to highlight local produce when it comes to seafood.

barramundi of unknown origin sold at my local supermarket

Is this barramundi farmed in Singapore or imported? Nobody knows.

What are your thoughts on the number of fish and egg farms as compared to the percentage supplied locally? Let me know in the comments.



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