SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will have access to 180 more coffee shops accepting CDC vouchers and offering budget meals, more than doubling the current pool to 330 participating coffee shops. 

The Straits Times reported that the 180 coffee shops are operated by nine private chain operators: Badaling, Broadway, De Tian, Chang Cheng, FoodFare Kopitiam, Kimly, Kim San Leng, Koufu, and Select.

60 rental HDB coffee shops, ahead of their lease renewal, will join hands with 120 privately owned coffee shops to offer budget-friendly meals.

This means that nearly one-third of privately owned coffee shops will be part of the initiative by the end of July 2024.

The Ministry of National Development and Housing Board announced that these new participants will also start accepting CDC vouchers from July 1 onwards.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann mentioned on July 1 that more than four of every 10 coffee shops within the HDB heartland will offer budget meals or drinks.

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About 150 rental HDB coffee shops islandwide offer over 1,000 budget meals and drinks. Budget meals are lunch or dinner options priced at S$3.50 and below, with drinks priced at S$1.20 and below.

Since May 2023, all rental HDB coffee shops renewing their tenancies must offer at least four budget meals and two budget drink options.

Singapore has 776 HDB coffee shops, with 374 rented out by HDB and 402 privately owned.

The Housing Board aims to have all 374 rental HDB coffee shops offering budget meals by 2026 to make dining more affordable and accessible for residents.

On July 1, Ms Sim and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling put community budget meal decals on four stalls at the Chang Cheng Mee Wah coffee shop at Block 802 Tampines Avenue 4.

These red and blue decals mean the stalls accept CDC vouchers as payment.

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Despite the positive impact of the budget meal scheme, it has faced some challenges.

Feedback has emerged regarding meal portions and nutritional balance, with concerns about meals being overly carbohydrate-heavy.

In response, Ms Sim assured the public that ongoing discussions with operators and stallholders address these issues, ensuring adjustments are made swiftly based on feedback.

“When we have feedback concerning the portion of the food available and the nutritional balance, we work with operators and stallholders…

… so far, they have been quite responsive to feedback and quite cooperative, and adjustments have been able to be made relatively quickly,” Ms Sim explained.

HDB conducts regular checks and engages extensively with stallholders to ensure quality and adherence to scheme standards.

Plans are also underway to introduce a mechanism for public feedback to further refine the initiative.

Consumers can check the BudgetMealGoWhere portal, a collaboration between HDB and the Government Technology Agency, to find participating stalls with budget meal options.

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Since its launch in May last year, the portal has garnered over 400,000 unique visitors.

In tandem with the expansion of budget meal options, the CDC voucher scheme has seen robust participation.

According to Ms Low more than 883,000 (67%) Singaporean households claimed their vouchers in the latest tranche on June 25.

“We encourage Singaporeans to use their CDC vouchers, which are valid till Dec 31, 2024.

Expanding the number of coffee shops that offer budget meal options, as well as those that accept CDC vouchers, will certainly boost, and widen the choices of affordable food options for Singaporeans,” Ms Low said. /TISG

Read also: More CDC vouchers released with cash payouts coming in September and December 2024

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