PM Lee: NTUC FairPrice 'must not forget social mission'

NTUC FairPrice must not forget its social mission of providing "good quality groceries and essentials at affordable prices" - even as it stays competitive by catering to Singaporeans' desire for higher-end products.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the supermarket chain, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that many Singaporeans remained concerned about cost of living, even though they have become significantly better off.

Furthermore, global uncertainties like the Thai floods in 2011 and the Sars crisis in 2003 threaten the supply of goods from time to time.

"In these situations, FairPrice provides an important assurance to Singaporeans that they will always have somewhere to turn to for their basic needs," he said on Tuesday night.

At the celebrations, held at Marina Bay Sands, FairPrice chairman Ng Ser Miang also announced $40 million in gifts - to be divided equally between the labour movement, FairPrice members who will receive rebates, FairPrice employees and needy Singaporeans.

FairPrice, he pledged, will not just be any supermarket chain, but one "with a heart".