With work-from-home a default mode of working these days, here at The Halal Eater, we’re also doing our civic duty by staying away from the office.
Truthfully, most of us hardly stepped foot into the office this year as the country navigated through its various phases in the fight against Covid-19, along with the ever-changing measures to curb the virus.
For the most part, my colleagues have adjusted to the new norm of working from home but if there’s one thing we collectively miss the most, it’s the office team lunch.
“What are you having for lunch?” is as common a question in the office as “Are you OT-ing today?”, but ever since the pandemic happened, I don’t recall hearing that as much.
Coincidentally, the silver lining in this pandemic is that most of us have begun to cook our own meals at home more.
So, in an attempt to stoke my colleagues’ newfound passion for cooking, I gave three of them access to my foodpanda account to buy any groceries they needed on pandamart.
Boss, if you’re reading this, please approve my claims.
But first, got groceries on foodpanda meh?!
Remember the early days of the pandemic? When acquiring staples like flour and toilet paper was a challenge, and many customers were fearful to even enter stores, and when they did, the shelves were often almost bare?
That was when I first discovered pandamart, foodpanda’s network of cloud grocery stores that deliver groceries on demand.
Just order on pandamart lah, I recall saying numerous times last year.
From my favourite breakfast snack Twiggies — vanilla cream, not the chocolate one…
…to halal gochujang paste for my ramyeon, the groceries selection on pandamart is surprisingly extensive.
Interestingly, pandamart even stocks essential supplies like this COVID-19 ART self-test kit, something that my humble minimart downstairs does not carry.
For the most part, pandamart stocks a lot of common goods from familiar brands like Colgate and Nestle so it’s really like shopping at the local minimart in my neighbourhood.
There’s probably a pandamart near you
Speaking of neighbourhood, it turns out that pandamart has several ‘outlets’ all over the island. Who knew?!
But unlike the local minimart that is every resident’s beacon of hope for urgent necessities, pandamart outlets do not have a walk-in retail storefront.
So even if you want to shop at a pandamart store in person — seriously, why would you? — you can’t.
Yet, these outlets really do exist and if you’re living near these areas below, chances are that’s where your pandamart orders will come from.
Our buying habits have been changed forever by the pandemic, as we continue to order things over the internet and by smartphone.
“But how is pandamart different?,” Izad, our lead Editor, asked me. “I already shop for groceries online every month.”
“Well, do your groceries arrive in 30 minutes?” I replied, almost too smugly.
Groceries delivered in 30 minutes
Besides the wide range of variety of goods available, another pandamart unique selling point is its speed of delivery; groceries and other household essentials can be delivered as fast as 30 minutes on average.
Having been an avid user of pandamart, I can attest to this claim, but I was still apprehensive whether my colleagues would enjoy a similar shopping experience given that they stay in different parts of Singapore.
In any case, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to find out if pandamart is truly fast, no matter which location the orders come from.
Along with Izad, I picked two other colleagues who live in distinctly different neighbourhoods to test this out in the pretext of giving them a treat.
All three of them also represent different customer profiles which would enable me to see what types of products they buy based on their demographic and lifestyles. The kaypoh auntie in me couldn’t resist lah!
What my colleagues got on pandamart
With a budget of S$60 given to each person, here’s what each of them bought and their experience shopping on pandamart:
Izad, 35, Punggol
Izad lives in a Punggol BTO flat with his wife. On this occasion, he’s chosen to buy some ingredients to cook for lunch the next day. These include premium fresh eggs 15s (S$3.80), chicken stock cubes 12s (S$3), fishballs (S$3.45), fishcakes (S$1.80) and CP Shrimp Wanton (S$6.70).
Three bottles of Pokka drinks (total S$6.65) were added to cart because “this household runs on Pokka,” he reasoned.
He’s also stocked up his home first aid kit with Strepsils lozenges (S$4.50) and Panadol Cough & Cold Caplets (S$12.05).
Izad successfully checked out his cart at 6:38pm, and while the delivery time in the app stated 7pm, the delivery rider arrived at 7:08pm — that’s 30 minutes on the dot!
“Ok lah, I’m impressed,” Izad said afterwards. Phew!
Fiza, 30, Choa Chu Kang
As a mother of two children under 5 years, Fiza depends on pandamart as a lifeline on busy days. To save some time preparing breakfast the following day, Fiza had purchased some butter rolls (S$2.10), wholemeal bread (S$2.50), cocoa milk (S$3.35) and her kids’ favourite Yakult Cultured Milk Drink (S$3.20).
Like Izad, she also got the premium fresh eggs 15s (S$3.80) which seems to be quite the popular choice.
She’s also stocked up on baby essentials like Huggies Diapers (S$21.95) and a milk bottle teat replacement (S$8.90), two items that get “used up very quickly when you have a toddler.”
Unfortunately, Fiza’s delivery was delayed that day. When she checked out at 6pm, the estimated delivery time was between 6:30 – 6:40pm. However, she only received the order at 6:45pm.
“It’s the first time my order got delayed,” she said. “Usually (it’s) very fast and within the limit lah,” she told me.
Granted, it was 6pm on a Saturday so it might have been peak period. Thankfully, pandamart sent a message to inform her of the delay as well as to apologise.
So, as far as customer service goes, we agreed that it was a good move on pandamart’s part.
Syiqin, mid-30s, Jurong
Syiqin is single and lives with her elderly parents. She primarily cooks for herself and loves her snacks which would explain the two bags of Lay’s potato chips (S$4.74 each), a Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bar (S$1.80), rice paper (S$1.40) and Masterfoods seasoning powder (from S$4.20) in her grocery bag.
Non-food items in her list include beauty and personal care products such as Rejoice Shampoo (S$9.90) and Conditioner (S$6.90), as well as Laurier Safety Comfort Night Pads (S$4).
She’s also checked out cleaning supplies Magiclean Kitchen Cleaner Refill 500ml (S$3.40) and Mr Muscle 5-in-1 Multipurpose Cleaner 2L (S$5.40). These are items she deem as “too bulky to carry by myself.”
According to Syiqin, her pandamart delivery took all of 15 minutes, the fastest we’ve observed yet! Jurong West pandamart, we see you.
From our very small sample size of three customers, the average delivery time was 30 minutes, which is as advertised.
When there’s an unexpected delay, an automated message is sent to the customer to inform them of the updated delivery time.
Another plus point I must mention is that pandamart is open 24/7. Furthermore, you can choose a specific delivery time — there are even slots past midnight — if you want to.
Otherwise, foodpanda’s fleet of delivery riders will deliver your shopping as fast as 30 minutes, a gold standard that we’ve come to expect of foodpanda and other food delivery platforms in general.
More importantly, every item is accounted for and the orders arrived safely. These include fragile items like eggs and liquid products which have a tendency to break and leak if mishandled.
When asked what they feel is a game-changer for pandamart, my test subjects mentioned “speed of delivery” and “convenience” as their top two points.
On top of that, pandamart’s inventory covers a wide enough range of categories, brands and items that they don’t feel neither overwhelmed by too many choices nor disappointed by lacklustre offerings.
Izad sums it best when he said “I guess you can say pandamart is an intermediary between huge supermarkets and local minimarts.”
For large monthly purchases, the big box supermarket makes sense while the minimart downstairs is ideal for single item goods. For everything in between, pandamart fulfils that underserved purpose.
As a regular pandamart customer with a habit of late night snacking, I completely agree.
It’s 12.45 am now. Excuse me while I check out my cart.
Specials on pandamart day
If you’d like to try out pandamart for yourself, you can get S$10 off orders above S$24 and get S$24 cashback by using the code TAPINTOMART, valid until Oct. 31, 2021. Valid for first order only (new pandamart users).
Additionally, foodpanda celebrates pandamart day on Oct. 19-20 and both new and existing customers get to enjoy:
- Discounts of up to 50% off
- 1-for-1 deals
- $0.99 flat delivery fee
- $4 off cashback voucher with every $50 spent