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High Majority Of Patrons Satisfied With Hawker Centres

13 Jun 2019

National Environment Agency Perception Survey of Hawker Centre Patrons 2018 shows marked satisfaction in areas of affordable food options, food quality and dining environment                                                                                                                  

Singapore, 13 June 2019 – The National Environment Agency’s (NEA) most recent Perception Survey of Hawker Centre Patrons (PSHCP) found that overall, nine in ten respondents were satisfied or highly satisfied with hawker centres. NEA has been conducting this survey on a biennial basis since 2014, with PSHCP 2018 being the third survey in the series. The purpose of the PSHCP is to help NEA understand the public’s views on the social relevance and usage of hawker centres, and to identify any areas for improvement that are needed to strengthen the role of hawker centres as Singapore’s community dining rooms.

2          PSHCP 2018 was carried out by an external survey company over a 3-month period in the third and fourth quarters of 2018, using a structured questionnaire over face-to-face interviews with Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents at their homes. The survey did not differentiate between existing and new hawker centres. A total of 1,103 responses were gathered from a representative sample of residents, with the respondents’ ages ranging from 18 to 69 years old.

Highlights of survey findings

3          The key results are attached in Annex A. The top line findings are as follows:

a.   Patrons’ satisfaction level of hawker centres (Figure 1) – Overall, 91% of the respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with hawker centres (on a four point scale). Overall satisfaction with hawker centres has remained consistently high, at 90% or higher since PSHCP 2014.

b.   Satisfaction with affordability, and quality of food and dining environment (Figure 1) – 99% of the respondents were satisfied with the affordability of food options in hawker centres. On the quality of food (e.g. ingredients, portion, taste) in hawker centres, 98% of the respondents expressed that they were satisfied. 87% of the respondents were satisfied with the dining environment (e.g. ventilation, cleanliness, hygiene) in hawker centres. NEA surveyed these aspects of hawker centres for the first time in 2018.

c.   An important amenity (Figure 2) – Hawker Centres garnered the second most number of votes (at 54%) just after Public Transport, when respondents were asked which three amenities in the neighbourhood were most important to them. This finding is consistent with that of PSHCP 2014 and PSHCP 2016, where hawker centres had been cited as one of the top three most important amenities in a neighbourhood.

d.   Most frequented eating establishment in a given month (Figure 3) – When asked which eating establishment is most frequented in a given month, the top choice of respondents was hawker centres (at 36%). In 2016 and 2014, hawker centres were also picked as the most frequented eating establishment.

e.   Older respondents vs. younger respondents (Figure 3) – Overall, 36% of respondents visited hawker centres the most often. By age group, 39% of respondents aged 40 and above visited hawker centres most often, while 28% of respondents aged 30 and below reported visiting hawker centres most often. This is consistent with PSHCP 2014 and 2016 where the same trends were seen across the age profiles.

f.   Hawker centres as ‘community dining rooms’ (Figure 4) – 83% of respondents eat at or buy takeaways from hawker centres at least once a week. The top reasons cited for buying food from hawker centres were (i) good variety of food, (ii) affordable food, and (iii) easy accessibility of hawker centres (near to home or workplace).

g.   Views about Singapore’s Hawker Culture (Figure 5) – 91% of the respondents agreed that hawker centres promote interactions among people from all walks of life, and are good places to interact with friends, family and neighbours. Respondents were asked about this for the first time in 2018.

h.   Tray return in hawker centres (Figure 6) – 47% of respondents in 2018 said they had returned their trays most and all of the time (at least three out of five times). This is an almost 15% point improvement from 33% in 2016.

i.   Frequency of visits to wet markets (Figure 7) – In 2018, 39% of respondents said they had not visited wet markets in the past year. In 2016 and 2014, the corresponding figures were 33% and 23% respectively.

4          With regard to vibrancy of hawker centres, respondents were also asked if they would like to see more activities taking place at hawker centres. The top three activities which they wished to see at hawker centres are flea markets, musical performances, and workshops (e.g. repairing of appliances, learning new skills/crafts). While these activities are new to most of the existing hawker centres, some of them are already being held regularly at NEA’s operator-run new hawker centres, as part of the operators’ efforts to bring in more footfall and enhance the vibrancy of the new hawker centres. 

Survey reaffirms the relevance of hawker centres as our community dining rooms

5          Hawker centres serve an important role of providing accessible and affordable food in a hygienic environment for the general public in Singapore. At the same time, hawker centres also provide an avenue for hawkers to make a decent livelihood, and help to sustain the hawker culture which holds a special place in the hearts of all Singaporeans. These survey findings reaffirm that our hawker centres are serving these objectives well. Hawker centres are well patronised and appreciated by our residents, and they continue to be relevant as the community dining rooms in Singapore. These survey results are useful to NEA’s efforts to ensure the relevance of our hawker centres, and continuously improve them

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For more information, please contact us at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) or submit your enquiries electronically via the Online Feedback Form or myENV mobile application.



Figure 1 – Patrons’ satisfaction level of hawker centres
Figure 1 – Patrons’ satisfaction level of hawker centres

Figure 2 – An important amenity
Figure 2 – An important amenity

Figure 3 – Most frequented eating establishment
Figure 3 – Most frequented eating establishment in a given month

Figure 4 – Hawker centres as ‘community dining rooms’
Figure 4 – Hawker centres as ‘community dining rooms’

Figure 5 – Views about Singapore’s Hawker Culture
Figure 5 – Views about Singapore’s Hawker Culture

Figure 6 – Tray return in hawker centres
Figure 6 – Tray return in hawker centres

Figure 7 – Frequency of visits to wet markets
Figure 7 – Frequency of visits to wet markets