THERE’S MORE TO SINGAPORE’S WET MARKETS THAN JUST FOOD - Scientific Inquirer
How often does your family or yourself go fresh grocery shopping, if so, where do you most do it? What are the factors that you consider when shopping for fresh products? Different people show different preferences when it comes to grocery shopping. Some favor shopping at Supermarkets but in Singapore, locals are immersed with wet markets as a place for the freshest products and a must-see site for travelers seeking a cultural experience. Together, let us find out why do Singaporeans still choose to buy fresh foods at Wet Markets rather than supermarkets?
People, in their life, must’ve experienced buying fresh products. Grocery shopping gives individuals that kind of “customer experience” when looking for the goods that they need. This experience may be different in nature depending on the location that one shops. When it comes to Supermarkets, individuals want to experience a one-stop shop where they can buy all of their needs in one place. Moreover, individuals that prefer to shop at Supermarkets tend to enjoy the air-conditioned place and the convenience of technology. On the other hand, individuals that tend to prefer to look for goods in the Wet Markets want to experience the locality and the cheap prices it brings. Additionally, those people who are bargain hunters are fit to do their bargain in Wet Markets.
But how do we define wet markets?
A "wet market" is a public market where fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and fish, are sold. Despite the fast spread of modern supermarket chains, wet markets, a 'traditional' type of food shopping, have retained their appeal in urban China. Their longevity is due to the freshness of their meals.
The majority of Singaporeans have visited the wet market at least once in their life. Whether it's to purchase veggies or fresh seafood from the fishermen, wet markets occupy a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans.
In Singapore, the term "wet market" refers to the practice of wiping the floors with water after washing vegetables or cleaning fish, and so the market is often wet. A normal wet market, on the other hand, is not completely wet. Each wet market is divided into two sections: the wet area and the dry area. The wet part sells meat, poultry, and fish, while the dry portion sells herbs, spices, grain, beans, dried noodles, and dried seafood. The majority of wet markets open at 4:00 a.m. and close at 12:00 p.m. Thus, the ideal time to visit Singapore's wet markets is early in the morning, when the freshest food is available.
For a little history. During the 1800s, wet marketplaces lacked adequate storefronts. Vendors displayed their wares on the ground or in baskets. Lau Pat Sat was one of the first wet
marketplaces to open its doors. It acquired popularity in 1824 as a result of its unusual octagonal construction.
Wet markets started to evolve in the 1950s and 1960s when the government prioritized public housing and the relocation of street hawkers. As street selling grew increasingly popular, worries about lack of cleanliness and inadequate sanitation increased.
Following Singapore's independence in 1965, these marketplaces became more organized. Street hawkers were shifted to purpose-built venues dubbed wet markets cum hawker centers. These wet marketplaces lacked air conditioning and were clearly divided between wet and dry regions. They were placed across Singapore, catering to the requirements of every resident.
On the other hand, Supermarkets were distinctively different from wet markets as they were air-conditioned in the first place, had longer operating hours, and offered a wider range of items. It is considered a huge retail establishment that specializes in daily necessities and convenience items. They often have extensive facilities and deal with both food and non-food items. Customers are expected to shop independently from the correctly labeled racks, and at the market's conclusion, there is a cashier who collects the money after weighing and inspecting the goods. Typically, consumers make purchases and transport them in trolleys. Thus, supermarkets are sometimes referred to as self-service shops, since consumers are expected to make all purchases without the assistance of salespeople or sales assistants.
The people of Singapore are called Singaporeans. Different personalities have written about the personalities of these citizens. One of them is Ian Lloyd, a National Geographic photographer and frequent visitor to Singapore. He said that Singaporeans are wonderfully practical people. And as customers, these individuals are regarded as demanding regarding the service that businesses offer. A study by Singapore Business review revealed the following:
1. Focus on speed, empathy, and education
41% of customers want their wants met more promptly in the next five years. The next two goals are to teach representatives to establish a personal connection (20%) and to educate them about beneficial perks and services (20 percent ).
2. Shorten wait times
Consumers are willing to wait an average of 11 minutes on the phone and 15 minutes in person, therefore it is critical to aim for efficiency at all contact points.
3. Ensure service professionals are efficient, empowered, and empathetic
Singaporeans want their transactions to be done quickly; To be able to accommodate their requests, and to connect with them personally.
With some of these attributes of Singaporeans as consumers. We can see that they need their demands to be catered quickly which is possible when they do their fresh grocery shopping at Wet Markets as sellers in this area focus on speed; with more options, customers have shortened waiting time, and transactions here are done quickly, requests are accommodated as you can bargain and sellers and buyers can build a connection just by communicating, which is not very often seen in Supermarkets.
With this, locals still prefer to shop fresh groceries at Wet markets for the following reasons:
- The quick-service that wet markets
- Quality of foods at a reasonable
- Stall to stall comparison of price and
- At wet markets, shoppers and merchants have a particular relationship and converse as if they were neighbors. Thus, in addition to decreased rates, merchants provide several advantages that money cannot purchase. Between customers and grocery personnel, this bond is non-existent.
- Wet market stall proprietors are knowledgeable about a variety of products, and if you're friends with them, they'll tell you which cut of meat is the juiciest and how to prepare it
- The early wet market is bustling with activity, with shouts for cheap buys and morning pleasantries between frequent shoppers and booth owners. Heartwarming gestures such as shop owners packaging more veggies for regulars at no additional expense or regulars purchasing a cup of coffee from store owners are widespread. These little acts of kindness go a long way toward cementing the link between consumers and merchants.
- Wet markets have evolved beyond their original function as drop-in locations for food supplies. It serves as a focal point for social interaction, enabling individuals to form strong and lasting ties with one
Throughout the years, wet markets also evolved their services for the convenience of the customers. It may not be as technologically digitized as Supermarkets but it can suffice the needs of the customers.
Many Singaporeans are acquainted with the rush and bustle of wet markets brimming with fresh, delectable goods. Wet markets are an integral part of the nation's cultural legacy and identity, serving as a communal center and gathering place for older generations. However, when the Covid-19 happened, wet markets in Singapore entered the circuit breaker or a partial lockdown in the community. However, this has opened more opportunities for the vendors to look for other ways to reach their customers.
One of which is the initiative of Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority. This statutory board partnered with a number of Tekka Wet Market stall owners to offer the wet market shopping experience right to people's homes through Facebook Live. Through free
island-wide delivery, stall owners have been able to continue serving clients who no longer feel secure visiting the market in person, as well as reaching consumers in various regions.
In addition, Wet markets now even have their own website which shows the different products that they offer. These websites even have different blogs that help the customers or readers to get to know more the business well. One of which is the SGMarket. SGWetMarket is one of the established wet market stalls that has been operating for more than 13 years. SGWetMarket provides next-day vegetables, meat, seafood, fish, and fruits delivery services in Singapore. They have a wide variety of choices with over 250 vegetables, meat, seafood, fish, and fruits choices that are available all day on our website. As all of their freshes produce is being picked and delivered on the same day, shopping for fresh produce has never been so easy. Their friendly customer service team is eager to assist with all your shopping needs.