Endangered Groceries

Singapore is a country of change, with nothing, from our skyline to our graveyards, immune to it. Now as consumer trends shift, even long-time supermarket staples are feeling the pinch and quietly vanishing from the shelves. We visit a local supermarket in search of what familiar products have now become endangered.

INSTANT COFFEE

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How old: Instant coffee was invented in 1881 by Alphonse Allais in France

Based on shelf allocation, it seems that instant coffee – whether in coffee granules sold in jars or instant coffee mix sachets – is on the decline, as more and more consumers are opting for coffee capsules (pods) and gourmet ground coffee bags. It seems that coffee drinkers are becoming more appreciative of espressos and good quality coffee, and don’t mind the extra time spent to brew them.

MARGARINE

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How old: Invented in 1869 to win prize money from Emperor Napoleon III for a butter substitute

The smooth times have ended for this spreadable butter substitute. While margarine was once hailed as the healthy option, butter has recaptured the market. The supermarket shelves show a clear preference for a wide range of butter, with just a narrow selection of margarine. This could be put down to (hipster) consumers finding fresh appreciation for the naturalness of this full-fat dairy product, or perhaps more are concerned with the fact that there is palm oil in margarine.

BAR SOAP

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How old: Used by the Romans in 200BC

This may come as no surprise, but the perennial soap bar is declining in sales locally, in favour of liquid hand wash and shower gel. Perhaps it’s to do with the bulky bar, but some consumers also prefer the moisturising effect of the shower gel and find it more hygienic than sharing the same bar of soap, offsetting the benefits of bar soap like a lower price tag, less wastage, and being used up more slowly than shower gel.  

2-in-1 shampoo

shampoo

How old: Gained popularity in the 1980s

What used to be popular because of its convenience has seen a decline these days – any shelf you see will have separate shampoo and conditioner bottles. The problem may lie in the product itself rather than fickle consumers. Said to both shampoo and condition your hair, 2-in-1 shampoo only really does the former, leaving you with a clean head of very frizzy hair.

 

First Toblerone, now this. What horrors do you have in store 2017?!

 

By Vincent Tan

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