1 course and plain rice at every meal is how this family is fighting rising food prices, Singapore News

Housewife Raihan Ibrahim feels the pinch every time she goes shopping near her five-room HDB apartment in Bedok.

Grocery prices, the 44-year-old told AsiaOne, have risen sharply in recent years, especially cooking oil and butter.

So much so that Raihan came up with his own money-saving trick – switching to frozen ingredients instead of more expensive fresh ingredients to cope with rising food prices.

Along with switching to frozen ingredients, Raihan has a more drastic measure in his arsenal, forcing his family of four to stick to just one dish with rice for each meal.

“We’re ok with that. We don’t need two or three courses [for every meal],” she added.

You see, even before the pandemic, Raihan was doing this to keep his family’s grocery bill down.

And for good reason too, given the current climate.

Fueled by higher energy and food costs, the core inflation rose to 3.3% year on year in April – the highest level since February 2012.

The core inflation rate, which excludes accommodation and private transportation costs, rose 2.9% in March.

In a CNA report in April, the MAS warned that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict would have “significant repercussions” on world food prices, which had already reached near pre-war record levels.

Egg prices up 32.4%

But how exactly does this affect Singaporeans like Raihan when shopping?

To get a better idea of ​​how food prices have risen since the days before Covid-19, we compared the prices of a few basic consumer items, including rice, bread, eggs and cooking oil, from April 2019 to April this year.

These data come from the consumer price index (April 2022) which measures the average price changes over time of a fixed basket of consumer goods and services commonly purchased by resident households.

From this data, we discovered that the prices of the six items we selected increased by 1.6 to 32.4%. (See table below)

Consumable item

April 2019

April 2022

% increase

Premium Thai Rice (Per 5kg)




Plain white bread (For 400g)




Whole chicken, chilled (Per 1kg)




Infant milk powder (For 100g)




Chicken eggs (per 10)




Cooking oil (Per 2kg)




Before the April 2019 pandemic, the average cost of a bag of premium Thai rice was $13.22 for five kilograms.

The same bag of rice will cost you $13.43 today, a modest increase of 1.6%.

The price of cooking oil, on the other hand, rose nearly 21% from $6.02 per two kilograms to $7.25 today.

This price increase is partly due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian warwhere the Black Sea region accounts for a large part of the world’s grain and edible oil supplies, CNA reported in March.

The biggest jump goes to eggs – a whopping 32.4% – from $2.37 to $3.14 for a box of 10 eggs.

The price hike is mainly due to the rising cost of imported chicken feed, egg suppliers from Malaysia and Singapore told the Straits Times in March.

While the price of chicken has seen a modest increase of 13%, it is set to be even more expensive in the future – following Malaysia’s decision to ban poultry exports from June 1.

We still have to buy

Before the pandemic, Raihan, with a budget of $50, could buy an item from the list above with $14.22 in reserve.

Today, with the price increases, he would be down to just $10.78, a 24% drop in savings.

Looking ahead, there appears to be little respite for Singaporeans like Raihan as MAS and MTI have said core inflation is likely to rise further in the coming months, the Straits reported. Times on May 22.

This will ease towards the end of the year as some of the external inflationary pressures recede, they said.

Despite soaring food prices, Raihan told AsiaOne that consumers like her have “no choice because these products are essential”.

“Whether they raise the price or not, we still have to buy,” she said.

To help weather rising global prices, all Singaporean households can collect $100 digital vouchers from the Community Development Council (CDC), which they can spend at more than 16,000 participating merchants and hawkers.

$200 in vouchers will be disbursed in early 2023, with another $200 in 2024, with major supermarkets roped in for the next two years, the Straits Times reported.

ALSO READ: Shoppers empty fresh chicken shelves at Singapore wet markets and supermarkets after Malaysia announces export ban

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