How the Hell Does Meadows Survive With $1 Truffle Potato Chips?
All images by Stephanie Lee for RICE Media 

My first encounter with Meadows potato chips left me confused. I had spent a good two minutes staring at its price tag; almost certain an overworked supermarket employee made an error keying in the price. This was in 2021, when genuine inflation anxiety had been brewing.

“A dollar for a bag of truffle-flavoured potato chips? Not in this economy,” I remarked to no one in the snack aisle. I was genuinely perplexed that any sensible profit-driven company would have greenlit this price point. 

A 60-gram packet of Meadows potato chips: $1. A 50-gram packet of Lay’s potato chips: $1.90. You do the math.

I assumed its $1 price tag was a promotional tactic: Reel in unsuspecting Singaporeans with a price too good to be true; build a sizable customer base; raise the prices. Blame inflation if anyone complains. 

I was wrong.

That bag of Meadows potato chips would not be my last. And my fascination with its price tag only grew.

A year later, I embarked on an internship with RICE Media. The routine office tour on my first day was brief—the editorial office, the production room, the meeting room, a toilet, and a pantry. On a shelf stocked with various guilty pleasures, one particular snack stood out: Meadows truffle-flavoured potato chips. 

“They’re really good. And the best part is they’re only $1,” one colleague explains. It was mid-week, but the office had already gone to the nearby 7-Eleven for two refills of Meadows potato chips. 

The price of the potato chips remained at $1, just as it was a year ago. Had Meadows given up on profits?

After all, the brand had only recently launched in Singapore on 27 August 2020. One ludicrous theory I had: The company is a front for money laundering. I couldn’t conceive of any other explanation.

Meadows’ Secret Cost-Cutting Sauce 

Two years after my stare down with the potato chips’ price tag, I finally found out how Meadows keep their potato chips so cheap. People are more likely to take your intrusive questions seriously when you’re representing a media outlet. 

“We’re priced so competitively because we’re a distribution channel ourselves. We cut out the middleman,” Lee Yik Hun, Marketing Director for Food and Own Brand, Southeast Asia, DFI Retail Group, explains.

“On average, our house brands are 20 percent cheaper than national brands,” Yik Hun says without hesitation.

National brands are brands Singaporeans can find in more than one retailer. A classic national brand example is Lay’s; you can find them in all supermarkets. 

Meadows, on the other hand, is a house brand. You can find the penny-pinching goodness of Meadows potato chips only in selected retailers—Giant, Cold Storage, CSFresh, Guardian and 7-Eleven—all under the DFI Retail Group. 

“We rely on the same supply chain and infrastructure to manufacture our products. So we’re able to pass on these savings to the customer.” 

Flavour Town

Alas, there was no money laundering scheme to uncover. The only crime is how effortlessly Meadows potato chips stand up to national brands like Lays and Pringles without stretching your wallet. 

The potatoes are imported from Australia, India, the Netherlands, and China depending on the season. They’re then produced and packed in Malaysia before being delivered to Singapore.

Their highly popular truffle flavour is one variation among its many offerings. You immediately savour distinct earthy notes of truffle when biting into their truffle potato chips. Most importantly, they don’t taste artificial—to me, at least. 

Its most outrageous flavour, coriander, started as an April Fools’ joke. 

Yik Hun admits that many more flavours have been rejected—nasi lemak chips, unfortunately, never reached the shelves of supermarkets. Regardless of flavour, all 60-gram packets are priced at $1. 

Buying a packet of Meadows potato chips feels like daylight robbery. Against a looming GST increase, buying any household product priced at $1 feels like a steal. 

Yik Hun and his team grapple with a million-dollar question: Should Meadows actually increase the price of its potato chips to keep up with rising prices? 

“We asked ourselves whether $1 is too cheap for a bag of potato chips,” Yik Hun solemnly admits. 

“We launched it at $1 in 2020. It’s been three years. We’ve been through inflation and a GST increase. We debated whether we should increase the price by 20 cents.”

“We’re a business entity. Of course, we have to answer to our shareholders. We need to make a profit.” 

I feared a nationwide backlash. Is my investigation about to destroy a good thing for Singaporeans?

“We’ve agreed to keep the potato chips at $1. We want to hold our products at their current price points. 20 cents can mean a lot to some Singaporeans. It’s the difference between getting an extra carton of milk and eggs for the household.”


A house brand like Meadows represents a way for all Singaporeans to afford necessities and indulgences. Aside from their potato chips, Meadows offers a range of typical supermarket products—all cheaper than your usual national brands. 

Move aside Lay’s.

The Stigma of House Brands 

House brands’ price points have not gone unnoticed. According to a 2022 Talking Point Survey by CNA, 51 percent of 500 respondents made more house brand purchases than the previous year. Respondents cited price as the main reason behind choosing house brands.

Singaporean tastes have changed. Lower prices were once associated with inferior-quality products. Now, local house brands embody having your cake and eating it too: Good quality household items at affordable prices. 

Singaporeans are now happy to purchase products from house brands like Fairprice and Redmart. Why worry over your monthly household budget when you can get cheaper versions of lux products like truffle chips? 

While Singaporeans are more receptive to house brands, overcoming that stigma around inferior quality products has been challenging. The way house brands are packaged doesn’t help to tackle this stigma.

Meadows’ vanilla cream biscuit sandwich, wrapped in blue and white, looks suspiciously close to Oreos. The bright yellow and red of Meadow’s corn twists bear an uncanny resemblance to Twisties. Their noodle snack is uncannily similar to Mamee Noodles.

Aside from international brands, Meadows also boasts Japanese snacks inspired by Japan’s convenience stores.

In short, they look like rip-offs of the original. And the general consensus is that the originals are always better. 

“We want to tell customers quickly what the product is. There are a few extremely popular brands. Over time, these brands become a benchmark,” Yik Hun clarifies about the perception. 

He pulls out a carton of Meadows full-cream milk.

“Take milk, for example. There’s a good reason why they’re packaged the same. They’re stackable, resealable, and usable.”

“A lot of people say that all house brands are copycats. But that’s a lazy excuse to blame the house brand. [For us,] anything that is not needed is struck off.” 

Customers enjoy savings because house brands focus on the essentials. On the other hand, national brands are more expensive because of additional costs incurred from marketing and transportation. 

But Singaporeans are wiser to brands’ bluffs. We’re now more conscious that we’re influenced to think that renowned brands are better, which justifies their higher price to customers. Being a household name pays for itself. 

Meadows, Good Enough for Singaporeans 

House brands struggle to compete with national brands. Giant global corporations have no issue driving them into Singaporean minds and, subsequently, homes.

That being said, house brands like Meadows hold their own. They don’t need to prove themselves on the world stage; they just want to be good enough for Singaporeans. 

“The easiest way to think about this is in cars. You have the one, three, and five series BMW—good, better, and best. Meadows is in the ‘better’ category,” Yik Hun confidently says.

“In terms of quality, it’s better. In terms of price, it’s good. It really wants to be the most affordable product out there.” 

Affordable is an understatement. My daze over its insanely low prices along the aisles of Parkway Parade’s Cold Storage sparked a three-year fascination. And now, it finally comes to a close. 

Before Yik Hun departs, I ask what his favourite potato chip flavour is. It might be the last time we speak to each other. 

“Well, all of them, actually.” 

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