The Price of Being Fair: The FairPrice Group Story


10 consecutive weeks on The Straits Times Bestsellers list (non-fiction) and 1st prize winner for the English (Adult) category at the Popular Readers’ Choice Awards 2023!

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.

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.

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, and more than a delicious dose of heritage and nostalgia.

About the Editors

Sue-Ann Chia is a journalist and editor of The Price of Being Fair: The FairPrice Group Story, a No. 1 bestseller and winner of the Popular Readers’ Choice Awards in 2023. She was a co-author of The Last Fools: The Eight Immortals of Lee Kuan Yew, another No. 1 bestseller in Singapore. She was an associate director at the Asia Journalism Fellowship, established by Temasek Foundation International, between 2012 and 2017. The veteran journalist had spent years as a senior political correspondent with The Straits Times and copyeditor at TODAY, and her work has appeared in newspapers across Asia. She is a graduate of the Nanyang Technological University and Peking University.

Peh Shing Huei is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning author and journalist. He was The Straits Times‘ news editor and China bureau chief. He is the author of 12 books, including seven bestsellers: When the Party Ends, Neither Civil Nor Servant, Tall Order and Standing Tall: The Goh Chok Tong Years, The Last FoolsThe Price of Being Fair, and Strictly Business: The Kwek Leng Beng Story. He is a regular commentator on Singapore and China affairs. He is a graduate of the National University of Singapore and Columbia University in New York.

Product Description

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


“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.”
Piyush Gupta, Group Chief Executive Officer, DBS Bank

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

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

Behind the Book

Singapore’s business landscape is peppered with notable names, from Singapore Airlines to DBS Bank to FairPrice Group. But how much do we really understand of these companies, and how they came to be?

Our goal was to dispel the shroud of mystery around the much vaunted Singapore Inc, uncovering one of Singapore’s most famous homegrown ventures in all its unvarnished glory. The Price of Being Fair is the result of almost 30 no-holds barred interviews with FairPrice Group’s top management, past and present, as well as countless warehouse and store visits (and yes, drafts).

Along the way, we learned a lot about what makes this beloved supermarket brand tick. Where to place condoms in a store? How to ensure Singaporeans have enough chickens to eat? What goes into balancing profit with purpose?

We’re proud to say that our team of seven writers only took six months to wrap this project – and that includes wrapping what we wrote in a chic minimalist cover, adorned with familiar supermarket price labels, no less.