7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About NTUC Foodfare Besides The Social Enterprise Saga

Image: ntuc.org.sg

This article is a guest post contributed by JWong

I’m sure we all have experience of chope-ing seats with tissue at hawker centres. You’d probably also know the best time to head to the hawker centre so that you can beat the crowd for your favourite bah chor mee.

You’d also probably heard about the ahem, controversy over hawker centres run by social enterprises…

Image: ntuc.org.sg

Now, you think you know everything there is to know about hawker centres – those that’s run by NTUC, to be exact?

Perhaps not.

Here are the seven things that you probably didn’t know about NTUC Foodfare.

They are the provider of institutional catering services to uniformed organisations in Singapore

If you don’t already know, NTUC Foodfare, being one of the largest institutional caterers in Singapore, is responsible for feeding our army!

On top of working closely with the F&B managers in the cookhouse as well as the Ration teams from Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) to procure food items and plan meals that adhere to the requirements set by the Singapore Armed Force (SAF), NTUC Foodfare too, has to prepare nutritious meals based on health science inputs – which includes keeping a close watch on calorie intake and healthy cooking methods.

Gasp, that’d mean having to cook enough delicious food to please a camp full of hungry (sometimes, angry) soldiers! F’wah, tough job.

They are the first in Singapore to launch low-GI ready meals

In support of the nation-wide effort in the war against diabetes, NTUC Foodfare has launched a new line of affordable ready-to-eat meals called Chef’s Finest Low-GI earlier this month, on 10 December 2018.

Image: Ng Chee Meng 黄志明 Facebook Page

These low-glycaemic index (GI) meals were developed by Foodfare in collaboration with staff and students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Applied Science. This product is also Singapore’s first ready, diabetic-friendly meals to be endorsed by the Health Promotion Board.

Speaking at the launch event, Mr Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC said: “Healthy eating and living are key concerns among Singaporeans as health consciousness continues to grow. Consumers are making informed food choices and keeping active as they take ownership of their health. As our nation ramps up its efforts in the fight against diabetes, our NTUC Social Enterprises have come together to improve accessibility to a wider range of products and services for Singaporeans to lead healthier lifestyles”.

Peter Tay meets a Genie who helps him wipe off three of his past mistakes. You won’t have expected what he wished for for his third wish. Watch it here:

And who says healthy food are boring and expensive?

The Chef’s Finest Low-GI ready meals come in five different flavours which include Nyonya Rendang Chicken, Vietnamese Lemongrass Baked Chicken, Teochew Braised Duck, Braised Soy Chicken and Baked Cheese Seafood Tomato Rice and cost between $3.90 and $5.90 – Cheaper than your instant noodles lor.

If you’d like to give the ready meals a try, you can find them at selected FairPrice outlets.

They have a panel of taste curators to ensure that the food served by hawkers adhere to certain standards

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “Don’t waste calories on mediocre food” – which is like almost every Singaporean’s mantra by now. We all know how much of a food critic we all can be when it comes to food.

NTUC Foodfare knows it. Which is why they have a panel of taste curators to taste and scrutinize the food served by potential hawkers to ensure that they can satisfy Singaporeans’ taste buds.

They fine-tune hawkers’ recipes into healthier food choices

Remember the times when your parents nagged at you and said, “Girl/Boy ah, don’t always eat outside food lah, very unhealthy one you know!”

Image: happycow.net

Just so you know, NTUC Foodfare has a team of dedicated culinary professionals who help hawkers tweak their recipes so that they are healthier and more nutritious, without deviating too much away from its original taste.

Now, you can assure your parents that it’s not gonna be that unhealthy anymore to dine out, especially if it’s at NTUC Foodfare!

They provide complimentary food hygiene inspection and guidance to their hawkers

We’ve heard enough of food poisoning incidents in Singapore recently. We speculate and wonder about the possible causes and how we can reduce the risk of food poisoning.

But really, just because it looks clean, does it really mean it is clean?

Which is probably why NTUC Foodfare provides complimentary food hygiene inspection for their hawkers and offers them guidance by their in-house health, safety and environment team.

Not only this would help hawkers maintain a high standard of cleanliness at their stalls, it is also a responsible step and initiative taken by NTUC Foodfare to reduce any risk of food poisoning while providing food for their patrons.

Food poisoning can be severe and even deadly and I’m sure nobody wants to be a victim of food poisoning.

Minimum operating hours

Now, please tell me again why is this a bad idea?

Do we really want to penalize NTUC Foodfare for their intention of wanting to ensure that their hawker centres provide a good variety of choices for the consumers (you, me, he, she, they, them!) throughout the three meal times of the day?

Then I am quite sure you have never been disappointed after travelling all the way from one end to the other end of Singapore, only to see your favourite Satay Bee Hoon store closed – without any notice. Mind you, that happened to yours truly, and it’s not just once or twice, so I totally know how that feels!

I was so mad. I swear I almost threw a fit right there and then.

Gift-A-Meal Programme at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre

Earlier this year, the Gift-A-Meal programme was launched at at Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre in July.

Image: ntuc.org.sg

Gift-A-Meal allows patrons to pay it forward by donating a meal at $3.50 to needy residents in Pasir Ris through the Foodfare mobile app or directly through the hawkers when they buy food at the Pasir Ris Hawker Centre.

Meals donated by diners will be administered by the Community Development and Welfare Fund (CDWF) for the lower-income families, whereby these families will be given stored-value cards for the purchase of meals at any Foodfare outlet.

To kick-start the programme, Foodfare has donated 1,000 meals.

So you see, this is one example of how NTUC, as a social enterprise, has been actively helping the less privileged and lower-income families.

While we all always seem to have a lot of say when it comes to standing up for those in need but have we really put words into actions? Sometimes, you don’t have to wait for the others to start when you can create your own movement to really help the poor.

We ALL can do more.