Science of shopping for groceries

Not to sound too domesticated, but I have started to look more closely at price tags vs quality and value of supplies in Singapore. There’s a lot more science to grocery shopping if you have the luxury of planning for supplies. I find that it helps to plan for some household supplies and groceries if you can, to keep the house well-stocked of necessities at least.

This post focuses on supermarkets, largely for groceries and not household supplies.

There are three major supermarkets in Singapore which have their own strengths. As I am a NTUC Plus! member, I do tend to shop from NTUC or NTUC Finest more often and that is often my default choice. Also because I am close to two NTUC Finest in my estate.

Why I like each supermarket:

1. NTUC

  • Housebrands are rather reasonable for soy milk, unsweetened at S$1.70 or you might get Marigold Power Beans unsweetened range (made with Canadian soy beans) at S$1.95.
  • Value offers for UHT milk sometimes. Savings aren’t huge. I like Devondale.
  • Sweet potatoes in a pack
  • Yogurt selection – go for the Yoplait range as I find that they are creamy and good.

2. NTUC Finest

  • As above.
  • If you buy coffee beans by Cafe Direct (the Machu Picchu or Kilimanjaro range) this is probably the best price. Better than Cold Storage or Marketplace. You will probably not find the same range at NTUC or Giant.
  • Fresh produce of peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and fresh pre-packed salads. Their range of fresh greens is better than what you’ll find from Giant.
  • Fresh poultry in packets
  • Deli selection of hams
  • Worthwhile to check out the organic range at some larger stores for organic oats or quinoa.
  • Occasional offers on dried products like nuts is a good value.

3. Cold Storage

Managed by the Dairy Farm Group in Singapore which also manages Marketplace and Giant.

  • Cooked whole chickens, roasted from the deli – I’ve seen their chickens going at S$8.90 per piece as compared to NTUC at about a dollar more. These chickens are maybe slightly smaller but seem a lot fresher.
    • Same for Marketplace.
  • Cold Storage Essential housebrand of eggs – They go at S$2.30 for a pack of 10+2 eggs sometimes. If you have eggs as often as we do, I think this is worth it as you could get a few packs each time.
  • Cold section may offer a wider selection of international products as compared with NTUC, but also more expensive.
  • Offers Swiss Bakery at some outlets and you’ll be able to get gourmet breads here which are rather fresh. You may find gluten-free bread here too.
  • You’ll find a salad bar at some Cold Storage outlets (around town) which can be at a more reasonable price than Salad Stop, Sumo Salad or other salad bars at shopping centres.
  • You’ll find Cedele at some Cold Storage outlets – eg. Parkway Parade Shopping Centre, where you’ll be able to pick up some specialty breads with flax, no egg, no sugar etc. Do try the Red Velvet and Lemon Lust slices from Cedele. I am a big lemon flavoured or lemon curd fan. This is one of my favourites, besides Gastromania’s.

4. Marketplace

  • The same as above.
  • Slightly more expensive than Cold Storage but you’ll find a wider selection of international products.
  • Gluten-free selection of flours by Bob’s Mill.
  • Gluten-free cereals available.

5. Giant Hypermarket

  • You’ll find some household products here which are in large, almost industrial sizes (at least that is what I think since they are almost too heavy to carry on my own. I would order these online through RedMart for bulk orders).
  • Halal section for fresh meats available.
  • Industrial coffee sizes available (at Giant Parkway) – the coffee section which sells beans and ground coffee.
  • On-site bakery available and you’ll find some freshly baked breads which are still warm if you’re lucky.
  • Not the first option for me to get yogurts or dairy from here. Although if you are out of supplies and this is more convenient, it’s fine too. I prefer NTUC Finest for dairy or yogurts as there’s more value from their promotions and they look fresher and presentable. Giant stocks the yogurt in a ‘basket’ or something like that.
  • Tropical fruits such as dragon fruits and guavas are great buys here. You’ll find large and juicy dragon fruits and guavas which are still wrapped in the individual plastics, freshly delivered. Prices at about S$2.75 for 5 dragon fruits or 20c per gram for Taiwan guavas. I think this is a good price for the quality.
  • Not the first option for me to get salad greens here as they don’t look as fresh as those you’ll find at NTUC Finest or Cold Storage.
    An observation that Giant carries Asian vegetables mostly from Malaysia instead of China which is great. Asian leafy greens like the kai lans, japanese greens, are mostly from China at NTUC. I usually avoid buying consumable produce from China if i could help it. Asian greens from Malaysia and Singapore are fine.
  • Small potted plants available here and you may also pick up some bags of fertilisers and soil. However, you may wish to get your plants and gardening supplies from IKEA.
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Alicia C

Travel, cooking, discovery, outdoors, randomness...and experiences!

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