Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat officially opens this week, breathing excitement and optimism into the dining and food retail scene, especially in the Central Business District. Centred on creating unique “Everything Food” experiences, the public can expect something more than a typical food court or retail mart in this specially curated space approximating 7,000 sq ft. Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat (“Food Folks”) is not only Singapore’s first locally-focused food retail and F&B blended space, it is also the only Hawker x Street x Mod-Sin food hall housed in a gazetted monument.
Food Folks embodies its mission of ‘Purpose-Driven Retail’ through the enabling of local food brands; it acts as a launchpad for new brands and a springboard for more established brands to increase brand awareness and grow their business. To support all things local in food, both retail and F&B businesses will benefit from year-long marketing and brand storytelling opportunities. Additionally, retail brands will enjoy a waiver of the initial set-up fee (inclusive of administrative, processing and listing fees).
Food Folks’ retail space carries a specially curated selection of more than 800 food-related items. Of the more than 120 brands available, 70% are home-grown, 40% are not commonly found in major supermarkets, and about 5% have ventured from an online platform into a brick-and-mortar retail for the first time, leveraging Food Folks as their launchpad.
In addition, consumers can enjoy delicious meals from 10 F&B brands run by a mix of relatively new foodpreneurs and second or third-generation owners who are modernising their brands. These partners have developed Mod-Sin inspired dishes exclusive to Food Folks.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise and FairPrice Group said, “We understand the concerns and challenges faced by the food businesses amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. To support our local food brands during this time as well as to help them plan for their future business developments, FairPrice Group will avail our various support initiatives and network for them to leverage. This aims to help our partners deliver greater value and convenience to consumers. The concept of Food Folks is driven by the love of all things local and food-related. We aspire to serve as a catalyst for more examples of ‘Purpose-Driven Retail’.
We hope that our efforts inspire food businesses to incorporate purpose-driven elements into their business model, espousing positive benefits for consumers, small businesses and the wider community. I would also like to take this chance to thank Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Land Authority for their close collaboration in our efforts to revitalise Lau Pa Sat – a national heritage icon. The ongoing development of Lau Pa Sat would not have been possible without their support.”
The guiding principle of Food Folks is a sustainable business centred on the love of all things food and local. From the design of its interiors to the development of co-branded merchandise and curation of brands, Food Folks purposefully partnered local vendors and talents. Its mission of ‘Purpose-Driven Retail’ aims to encourage retail and F&B businesses to incorporate customer- and community-centric purposes in their business models. To support local brands, Food Folks serves as a launchpad and springboard for local food retail and F&B brands to experiment, innovate and grow. It aims to cushion the challenges that smaller local businesses often face when they break into the physical retail market.
Consequently, Food Folks is home to a few digitally native brands who are using this opportunity to embark on an offline retail format for the first time despite the current challenging business climate. For instance, it will be EDENS’ first move into physical retail since its online launch in July 2020, and they will mark this milestone by introducing a product exclusive to Food Folks – Mala Shiitake Chips.
In addition, Food Folks actively nurtures local brands through brand collaborations and partnership opportunities. To date, it has partnered three Singaporean brands (Fossa Chocolate, The 1925 Brewing Co. and Artisan Bricks) to launch co-branded food-related merchandise and edible products that will retail exclusively at Food Folks.
To enhance the brands’ market visibility, Food Folks provides marketing initiatives to help brands tell stories about their heritage and products, through social media, product sampling, educational workshops and events. Brands can also leverage Food Folks’ diverse partnerships across retail and food as well as with nearby businesses such as fitness gyms, hotels and attractions.
As part of the recently announced Made with Passion (“MWP”) national initiative aimed at strengthening the sense of pride and demand for local brands, 10 out of the 48 MWP brands will be retailing at Food Folks. These include Gryphon Tea, Janice Wong Singapore, Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh and Brass Lion Distillery. The MWP brands will carry a recognisable brand mark on their products and packaging.
“We are excited to support FairPrice Group on the development of their retail food hall Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat. Singapore has a vibrant and diverse food scene, and Food Folks brings the best of our local dining scene, food products and souvenirs together under one roof in the well-loved gazetted monument, Lau Pa Sat. We encourage locals to explore and rediscover Singapore’s culture and history through food, and continue to support our home-grown businesses,” said Ms Ranita Sundra, Director, Retail and Dining, Singapore Tourism Board.
Food Folks aims to bring together Singapore’s food community of local brands, foodies and foodpreneurs where everything about food is made easy and enjoyable. There are multiple options of quality offerings that cater to different preferences at various price points. Retail products start from $2 while F&B snack bites and value meals generally range from $4.90 to $14.90. At Food Folks, consumers can be sure to indulge in food products that are of value and quality.
The 10 F&B brands offer a diverse food selection, with the following dishes exclusive to Food Folks: the Ultimate Plant-based Combo Rice by four-year consecutive Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient and heritage brand Shi Hui Yuan; and the Prawn Soup Ramen by Michelin-starred Chef Kang.
For dessert lovers, Creme and Cone’s first permanent gelateria offers freshly made Waffle Cones and Waffle Lollies, as well as new artisanal gelato flavours Java Banana Chips and Thai Milk Tea.
Those craving for hearty and nutritious food may opt for Gua Zai Q Tofu Bento at QQ Rice or S’tay The Night, a vegan grain bowl with jackfruit satay at SMOL.
The food menus were curated using a “Customer First” principle, which was also applied in the design of the five retail zones and the three Instagram-worthy spaces, including a custom-designed mural by local illustrator, Tan Zi Xi (@MessyMsxi), and a life-sized Singapura cat-inspired mascot. Pockets of vibrant and versatile spaces have been designed for the food community to connect over a good cuppa or locally handcrafted gelato, beer and cocktails.
To create engaging experiences for consumers, each retail zone caters to different consumer profiles and needs, with offerings ranging from healthy grain bowls, to made-in-Singapore childhood snacks and international favourites.
In celebration of Food Folks’ launch, you and your loved ones can look forward to upcoming promotions and activities. This December, there will be a charity focused and #GiftLocal Christmas campaign that encourages Singaporeans to purchase exciting food-related gift packs to spread the festive cheer to those in need.
The rest of Lau Pa Sat will reopen its doors in 2021. For more information on upcoming promotions and activities, please visit www.laupasat.sg or follow them on Instagram: @foodfolks.sg
All photos used courtesy of FairPrice Group
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