With the reopening of Newton Food Centre after it closed last year to undergo renovation works for three months, there’s no doubt that many Singaporeans have been flocking down to get a bite of their favourite local fare since it reopened yesterday (1 February).
The food centre, which houses 83 food stalls, was closed for renovation works from 1 November 2022 onwards.
When speaking to Lianhe Zaobao, the National Environment Agency (NEA) shared that the renovation works included repainting the walls, expanding the available storage spaces, installing new fans to increase ventilation, and adding weatherproof blinds to prevent rain from disrupting patrons’ meals.
NEA also confirmed that the rental and management fees for the stalls would not increase after the renovation works.
However, there’s one other thing that has changed at the food centre after its reopening.
The price of food and drinks at most stalls.
Yup, even with the unchanged rental rates for stallholders.
In particular, the cost of food at Newton Food Centre rose by roughly 50 cents to $2 while the price of drinks rose by an average of 30 to 50 cents.
And before you think that the “maths isn’t mathing”, here’s why.
When speaking to Zaobao, many stallholders pointed out that they chose to increase their food prices due to the rise in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and rising costs of other factors such as raw materials.
Huang Yadi (Hanyu pinyin), a stallholder of a drinks stall at Newton Food Centre for three decades, raised the price of his stall’s sugarcane drink by 50 cents from $2 to $2.50.
According to him, a 15kg box of sugarcane used to cost around $20 but now costs $26.
In addition, Mr Huang gets his sugarcane from Muar in Malaysia since there are no sugarcane suppliers in Singapore.
Hence, he also has to pay for shipping, and shipping costs have risen significantly as well.
Apart from that, Mr Huang also revealed that he raised prices for the other drinks sold at his stall by an average of 50 cents as well due to the increase in GST.
As for Modern Grill Seafood, a spokesperson surnamed Huang (Hanyu pinyin) said that the stall recently increased the price of dishes by $1 to $2.
For example, a small plate of live dog conch (better known as “gong gong”) used to cost $13 but costs $14 now.
He explained that this was due to the limited supply of seafood and the increased price of imported seafood.
In particular, he claimed that the price of imported seafood has increased from 10% to 15%.
However, the spokesperson added that the stall is trying its best to keep the increase in price to a minimum as they are also worried that a significant price increase will lead to a loss in customers.
And here’s what patrons of Newton Food Centre think about the increased cost of food at the food centre.
When interviewed by Zaobao, a lady working nearby named Huang Minhui (Hanyu pinyin) pointed out that she did not realise that food prices had increased at the food centre.
She attributed this to the fact that the cost of living has generally increased across the entire country.
Ms Huang then added that the increase in food and drink prices is acceptable to her as long as the stalls do not raise their prices unreasonably and still provide customers with fresh ingredients in their food.
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