NTUC FairPrice was first established in 1973 as NTUC Welcome Supermarket in Toa Payoh, in order to solve the rising oil and daily prices then due to inflation. The then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew opened the first supermarket at Toa Payoh. Around the same time, other unions such as the Singapore Industrial Labour Organisation and Pioneer Industries Employees Union also set up co-operatives to run supermarkets. The two organisations later merged in the early 1980s to form the Singapore Employees Co-operative (SEC).
In May 1983, due to competition, NTUC Welcome and SEC merged to form a larger co-operative which was known as NTUC FairPrice Co-Operative Limited.
The company started a central-distribution system to change the way goods were delivered to stores, to enhance efficiency. This was owned by another company, but in 1998, FairPrice took full ownership of the warehouse and distribution company. It was renamed Grocery Logistics of Singapore (GLS). In 2003, FairPrice opened a new 13,000-square-metre Fresh Food Distribution Centre. The refrigerated-distribution facility centralises the distributions of fresh and chilled products to all the outlets in the chain. It is the first supermarket retailer in Singapore to build, own and operate its own fresh-food distribution centre.