HonestBee triggers Singapore food fight

A new player in Singapore’s online grocery market – honestbee – is set to bring a unique approach and ramp up the competition.

Jonathan Low, co-founder of the new concept, describes honestbee as “an Instacart-like service which assigns a freelance runner to buy groceries on your behalf from the nearest supermarket”.

Honestbee is the latest entrant in Singapore’s online grocery battle, and it’s eager to prove it can deliver the goods. Casual observers probably won’t spot many differences between the service and its competitors, which now include RedMart, PurelyFresh, and GoFresh. Even supermarkets like Cold Storage are upping the ante with a revamped online shopping site.

Indeed, they all seem to work the same way. After entering your postal code, the site tells you what merchants are available in the area. You then select one of its partners – from supermarkets like Cold Storage and Sheng Siong to smaller setups like Pet Lovers Centre and Gastronomia.

Next comes putting items in your shopping cart, picking a time slot, and checking out. The service waives delivery fees for basket sizes above a certain amount. And, if all goes well – and it usually does – the delivery guy rings your doorbell at the appointed time.

So far so good. But where honestbee really shines is its promise of delivering groceries to you within an hour, writes Terence Lee on TechInAsia.com.

“Well, more like two hours, as the case was for me. I made my purchase at 11.30am, and the earliest time slot I could choose was 1pm to 2pm. One-hour ranges are the best anyone can do in Singapore now, though honestbee wants to eventually introduce 30-minute slots.”


The startup is part of a rising class of “on-demand” services that aims to give you what you want, as soon as you want it. Uber pioneered the idea of using existing resources (idle private vehicles) and summoning them to anyone through an app. Instacart takes the same concept to groceries, and honestbee applies the same model to Singapore.

Read the full, extensive feature on TechInAsia here.

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