The Price of Being Fair: The FairPrice Group Story


Some praise it as a national treasure. Others tag it as the people’s supermarket. Many simply call it “NTUC.” While NTUC FairPrice is a household Singaporean brand, the story of its rise from just one store in 1973 to over 500 today is little known.

SKU: 9789811873355 Category:


As FairPrice Group celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, this authorised book traces its riveting success from a worker-led experiment to a S$4 billion food enterprise with more than 500,000 customers every day. Along the way, it has fought the biggest global and local challengers in the unforgiving retail market, from Carrefour to Cold Storage, from Sheng Siong to Amazon.

But unlike FairPrice’s rivals, it is not a company. It is a trade union cooperative with a social mission to moderate the cost of living for Singaporeans. Profits are not maximised for shareholders or owners, but for members and consumers. It continues to shoulder the burden of fighting inflation even as it forges growth.

For the first time, this homegrown Singaporean brand offers unprecedented access to its people and archives, revealing the crises FairPrice has had to navigate, from the Avian flu outbreak of 2004 to the COVID-19 pandemic. These pages reveal the tensions and struggles as it balances profit with purpose.

The Price of Being Fair tells the story of not just successes over half a century but also failures – from loss-making overseas ventures to aborted retail concepts. In the hands of the writers behind the No. 1 bestseller The Last Fools: The Eight Immortals of Lee Kuan Yew, this title provides insights into business, management, politics, technology, and more than a delicious dose of heritage and nostalgia.

ISBN: 978-981-18-7335-5 (Softcover)
Page Count: 200
Year Published: 2023

Edited by: Sue-Ann Chia & Peh Shing Huei
Authors:  Sue-Ann Chia, Peh Shing Huei, Samantha Boh, Justin Kor, Derek Wong, Toh Wen Li & Puah Rui Xian
Publisher: The Nutgraf Books

Additional information

Weight 0.28 kg
Dimensions 15 × 23 × 2 cm


About the Editors

Sue-Ann Chia is a journalist and editor with over 20 years of experience, covering politics, public policy, and manpower issues. She was a senior political correspondent with The Straits Times in Singapore and has also written for The Business Times, TODAY, and South China Morning Post. She was an associate director at the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the editor of several books – spanning public diplomacy, housing, healthcare, maritime, energy, sustainability, and manpower. She is the editor of One Havelock Square, a commemorative book on the State Courts that won the Singapore Book Awards in 2021. More recently, she is the editor of Behind the Mask: Our Healthcare Story, a publication by the Ministry of Health that chronicles its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also a co-author of the No. 1 bestseller, The Last Fools: The Eight Immortals of Lee Kuan Yew. She is a communications graduate from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and received her Masters in Public Policy from Peking University in Beijing, China., Peh Shing Huei is a journalist and an author who has written 10 books, including four No. 1 bestsellers in Singapore. They are Tall Order and Standing Tall, a pair of biographies on former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and Neither Civil Nor Servant: The Philip Yeo Story, and The Last Fools: The Eight Immortals of Lee Kuan Yew. His maiden book, When the Party Ends: China’s Leaps and Stumbles after the Beijing Olympics, won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016. It offers an on-the-ground look at China and was cited in the New York Times, the BBC, the Los Angeles Times, and South China Morning Post among others. His books have sold close to 100,000 copies. He was a news editor and China bureau chief at The Straits Times. He read politics at Columbia University in New York and the National University of Singapore. He is also president and a co-founder of the Macular Degeneration Society, a non-profit organisation building awareness and offering support to patients of the low-vision disease. He received a Meritorious Service Award at Singapore’s Eye and Vision Health Awards in 2014.


  1. Piyush Gupta, Group Chief Executive Officer, DBS Bank

    For a brand that is quintessentially Singaporean, the story of FairPrice with the many twists and turns in its 50-year history is little known. This book peels back the curtain on the complexities of being a retail co-op – supply chain fractures, societal expectations and all. In doing so, it plugs a gap in the Singapore story, in the most engaging of ways.

  2. Tommy Koh, Emeritus Professor of Law, National University of Singapore ; Ambassador-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    NTUC FairPrice is a national treasure. It is the people’s supermarket. My wife and I shop at a FairPrice every week and we are very happy customers.

  3. Lee Chee Koon, Group Chief Executive Officer, CapitaLand Investment Limited

    The Price of Being Fair is an inspiring and riveting read of the FairPrice Group’s five decades of unwavering commitment and excellence in serving Singaporeans, growing and transforming along with the nation, and making a positive and enduring impact to the community as one of our nation’s most iconic enterprises.

  4. Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever

    This book offers many fascinating and insightful examples of FairPrice Group’s purpose, professionalism and progressive business modelling over its remarkable 50-year legacy.

  5. Willie Cheng, Author of Doing Good Well, Doing Good Better, and Doing Good Great

    This is not a celebratory commemorative publication of 50 years of Singapore’s most successful social enterprise and retailer. It’s an authentic account of “doing good” best in the face of adversity and disruptions, told in a gripping, narrative fashion, as only the Nutgraf team can.

  6. Tan Wern Yuen, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo APAC

    Growing up in Singapore, I’ve always been captivated by the indispensable presence of NTUC FairPrice in our daily lives. Adapting alongside the evolving consumer landscape, FairPrice has remained an iconic brand to Singaporeans while embracing innovation and digitalization. This book is a testament to their leadership and resilience, offering insights and invaluable lessons for aspiring and seasoned business leaders alike.

  7. Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered

    FairPrice Group is an epitome of grit and innovation. Deeply woven into Singapore’s social fabric, it’s supported Singaporeans’ everyday needs fairly and inclusively. And that’s why I’m proud to partner such a like-minded franchise to serve customers through Trust Bank. This book offers a vivid glimpse into what makes it a true Singapore icon and household legend.

  8. Kenneth Chan, Former CEO, McDonald’s China & Singapore, author of “Asians in Charge”

    We’ve consistently looked to FairPrice Group as an exemplary Singapore organization that understands their customers, strives to provide the best value, convenience and service, all with a mission to give back to the community it serves. An engaging, eye-opening telling of their eventful journey and untold stories.

  9. Mohamed Sa’at Abdul Rahman, President, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis)

    This is a story that all in Singapore need to read, especially our younger generation. It is not just the story of Fairprice over the past five decades, but how FairPrice Group has become an integral part of our nation’s growth story.

    From its humble beginnings, FPG has grown from strength to strength over the last five decades, but it has never wavered in its social mission to moderate the cost of living for the average Singaporean. Over the years, FPG has worked alongside Muis to foster a deeper understanding and provision of all things halal for the community and has contributed much to nourish the underprivileged in our community.

  10. Chong Siak Ching, CEO, National Gallery Singapore

    The FairPrice story is an important one to be told. Every shopper will learn how behind every item on the shelf lies an unwavering social mission to bring affordable, essential products to us, come what may. A fascinating and worthwhile read!

  11. Frans Muller, President & CEO, Ahold Delhaize; Co-Chair, The Consumer Goods Forum

    The enduring heritage of FairPrice Group spanning five decades bears witness to their unwavering dedication to customers and innovative approach to business. This captivating book unravels their remarkable voyage, illuminating their tireless efforts in ensuring supply resilience and affordability of daily necessities, while also fostering a profound sense of community commitment. An interesting read for both the consumers they serve and business people everywhere.

  12. Lee Huay Leng, Editor-in-Chief, Chinese Media Group at SPH Media

    A story of an extraordinary institution which could easily be overlooked because it has become so much of our everyday lives. We ought to know how it all happened.

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