The Other Half and I place a huge emphasis on ROI (Return on Investment) on our time. A simple example, spending half an hour polishing coding skills is better than waiting in line at the supermarket.

We have been buying groceries online for slightly over 3 years. Friends are amazed.

"But you don't buy vegetables online right? The non-perishables only."

"99.9% of groceries that we buy are fresh produce. It's great! We don't have to spend time at the supermarket, carry and transport the items. Online groceries are fresher since less handling happens. At the supermarket, many people poke and prod the groceries. If any produce arrives spoilt, we inform customer service, submit photos and get a refund within a day. So easy."

With panic buying and more Stay-At-Home situations, here are some lesser known sites to buy your fresh groceries from.

OpenTaste

I switched to OpenTaste from RedMart as OpenTaste had a larger range of fruits and vegetables from Australia. Price-wise, friends who visit supermarkets, have said that OpenTaste prices are comparable to local supermarkets.

I have a yearly subscription with OpenTaste and usually buy their bulk fruits, dairy, eggs and vegetables.

Fantastic customer support. Highly recommend.

TreeDots

With the aim of minimising food waste, TreeDots sells items that:

  1. Are in "overstock or oversupply to meet the expectation that everything should always be in stock at stores, or imperfect demand forecasting"[^1]
  2. Fall "short of cosmetic requirements, wrong sizing, have minor labelling issues, etc, but are still perfectly good for consumption"[^1]
  3. "Close to expiry where business policies usually mandate anything 50% below their shelf-life is not sellable anymore"[^1]

Buying from TreeDots is buying from food from an alternative supply chain that would not end up in supermarkets.

I admire them for doing large scale food redistribution through B2B channels which is no mean feat, even in a small country like Singapore.

The TreeDots website mentions ordering through an app. However, for B2C consumers like myself, ordering is done through TreeDot Group Buy chat groups in Telegram and Whatsapp.

The list of items and prices are posted every few days in the chat. Here's the admin message (updated as of 17 Mar) explaining how the group buy works. Only relevant parts of the message are posted here.

Every week around Sunday or Monday, we will share the selection list for you to order by Thursday, 12pm and to collect on Saturday. The main self-collection point is at LINK@AMK, on Saturday, 12-1pm as detailed in the selection list.
How does the group buy work?
Chickens can be ordered as it is, while for seafood, we offer the option to pool for a few packets within the carton to serve more households. For seafood, we need to successfully pool for whole cartons for the orders to be effective. We do not pool for chickens and they are in 5kg bags.
1) If you are only ordering chickens and/ or whole cartons, you can let Order TreeDots know your order and make payment.
2) If you are ordering chickens and pooling for cartons, you can let Order TreeDots know your order and make payment for the chickens first. Follow up with your seafood payment only after your carton is fully pooled for.
3) If you are only pooling for cartons, you can let Order TreeDots know your order and make payment after your carton is fully pooled for.
Are there other locations for collection?
We recognise that LINK@AMK may be far for some, we also offer (free) delivery for minimum $500 for your convenience and to serve more in the same area as you.
Every week, we have kind hosts who offer to receive and redistribute the food to you – we call them our dear HUBS! You can also pool for your own $500 with friends and family and let @Order TreeDots know so that we can arrange for delivery.

I have not tried TreeDots as we do not consume enough food to meet the quantities, but I love this initiative.

UglyFood

Similar to TreeDots, UglyFood also wants to minimise food waste. However, they do it slightly differently. UglyFood converts these unwanted "ugly food" into food products and put them up for sale. They sell fruit juices, popsicles and fruit bowls, with more offerings to come!

With a store at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), UglyFood sells an assortment of ugly fruits and vegetables. Their Telegram channel updates weekly with a list of produce in stock and prices.

I have not tried UglyFood as SUTD is not near my usual travel routes. Someone please check them out!

Kuhlbarra

Quite a well-known brand by now, we have been customers for about 2 years. Their fish fillets arrive perfectly deboned and in individually packaged vacuum bags. We freeze the fish and slowly consume them over about 3 months.

The fish arrive in a styrofoam box packed with ice. On the next delivery, Kuhlbarra will take back the styrofoam box if it is clean. So upon receipt of the box, I immediately rinse it out, dry and put it away to return.

Highly recommended.

[^1]: https://thetreedots.com/frequently-asked-questions/