When one thinks of grocery delivery services in Singapore, behemoths such as Redmart and Honestbee spring to mind. With even supermarket giants like Fairprice and Cold Storage joining in the game, there is strong competition in the industry.
But Sasha’s Fine Foods – an eight-year “veteran” of the online grocery space, isn’t flinching.
“We are essentially a speciality meat and seafood supplier of the best produce sourced from around the world,” says the company’s founder. “I see the other companies as more general grocery stores.”
“Sasha” is Sasha Conlan, a food-loving mother of three with a passion for home cooking. When she first arrived in Singapore from the UK in 2008, she had trouble finding “clean” ingredients to cook with.
“Few if any retailers were clearly labelling where these products came from if hormones and antibiotics were used in their production, or how the animals and fish were raised,” says Conlan.
That perceived lack of transparency in the food chain gave rise to a business idea based on the principles of provenance, quality, and sustainability. There was a demand for ‘clean food,’ she says.
“We were one of the first companies in Singapore to pioneer the concept of delivering high-quality, sustainable food to households across Singapore.”
Navigating challenges in Singapore
Launching the one-woman venture was not easy.
“The rules and regulations around the import of meat and seafood are very strict and I had to learn a lot very quickly,” she says.
“Finding warehouse space that I could afford was a challenge, especially as I had to operate from a select few “food zones” in Singapore. Finding an excellent delivery option was extremely difficult, but I knew that in order to grow, I had to move beyond doing all the deliveries myself.”
She had to find a solution to keep her food frozen or chilled at the perfect temperature during delivery to beat Singapore’s heat.
“I am adamant that food should always be stored and delivered at optimum temperatures and the challenge comes from delivering fresh and frozen produce together. Therefore, I custom designed my first truck; I created a partition with one section at “fresh temperature” and the other at “frozen temperature,” she explains.
Looking back at the past eight years, Sasha’s Fine Foods has come a long way from a one-woman management and delivery team to a 20-people-strong team with their personal delivery fleet. They’ve won over thousands of customers across Singapore, including an extremely memorable lady who purchased 10kg of wagyu beef for her cat.
“I am really proud to have played a part in the movement towards a healthier, sustainable, and more wholesome lifestyle in Singapore.”
Healthy home cooking
A strong proponent of home cooking, Sasha believes that while restaurants can be exciting once in a while, nothing beats the warmth that comes from family and friends gathering around a table for a meal at home.
“I really care about what I put in the bodies of my family, myself, and my friends, and this inspires me every day,” says Conlan. “You have more control over your health than you think – and it all comes down to what you decide to eat.”
She sees the movement towards clean, healthy, and sustainable living as driving a new generation of home cooks.
“Consumer awareness, food safety, and… chronic disease which in my view is closely linked to what we put in our bodies – are all driving factors” of the clean food movement, she says.