SINGAPORE -Healthy food will be made more accessible and affordable, with a range of initiatives being undertaken by the NTUC Social Enterprises.
It will be changing its tenancy contracts for all food stalls in its NTUC Foodfare food courts and coffee shops, by making the use of healthier cooking oil compulsory for tenants. Food prices will remain affordable and it expects all food stalls to use healthier cooking oil in two to three years' time.
Today only 33 per cent of its 12 food courts and 6 per cent of its seven coffee shops have taken up using healthier cooking oil.
"This is not a decision ordinary businesses will make... But we are trying to change behaviour," said Mr Tan Suee Chieh, group chief executive officer of NTUC Enterprise.
At a press briefing on Thursday (June 23), Mr Tan said the new initiative to encourage Singaporeans to eat and live healthily is part of NTUC Social Enterprises' 10-year plan to reinvent themselves to meet changing social needs of Singaporeans.
From Thursday, NTUC Fairprice will also be offering discounts of up to 15 per cent for various types of FairPrice Housebrand healthy cooking oils which are certified with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). Major stores around the island will also have a section dedicated to displaying HCS certified products in July and August.
This is on top of the 5 per cent discount on its house brand wholegrain rice items for the next 2½ months, which it started two weeks ago.
To encourage children to eat healthily, a sticker booklet will be given to those in NTUC First Campus' My First Skool pre-schools. Those who consume their share of fruit and vegetables daily can collect stickers.
NTUC IncomeShield policyholders who pass all four tests in its health screening offered under Orange Health will receive $50 shopping vouchers, as an incentive to stay healthy. Those not insured under IncomeShield or Enhanced IncomeShield will receive $50 discount off their first-year premiums if they choose to sign up with Enhanced IncomeShield.
The NTUC social enterprises were set up to meet a wide range of social needs, from stabilising prices of essential goods and services to providing basic financial security.
Mr Tan said a survey of 1,600 respondents done over 14 months from 2014 to 2015 had shown that Singaporeans had four major concerns: cost of living, ageing, health and healthcare costs, and social mobility.
"Forty years ago, cost of living was a central need for all Singaporeans... Accessibility and affordability were important," he said. "But today Singaporeans are no longer living in a third-world country... People are educated, affluent and they want different things."
To tackle these emerging concerns, NTUC Social Enterprises is making a "big strategic shift", he said, in pooling their resources to provide a range of services for Singaporeans at different life stages.
For instance, it has increased services for the elderly, including senior day care centres, senior activity centres and home care services.
It has also identified areas in technology to experiment with, such as e-commerce, automation, logistics and distribution, as well as robotics and medical technology and data analytics.