More Singapore’s food manufacturing companies are looking overseas to broaden their reach.
Exports from the sector hit S$7.1 billion in 2013, an increase of nearly 8 per cent annually over the past five years, according to International Enterprise Singapore.
The biennial Food and Hotel Asia trade exhibition, to be held at the Singapore EXPO from April 8 to 11, is one platform used by firms to grow their global presence.
Ever tried durian-flavoured spread? Singapore firm Fong Yit Kaya offers that variety, along with others like caramel and coconut.
Founded in 1945, the company has entered markets including Japan, Hong Kong and Brunei, and is now eyeing South Korea and Myanmar next.
Fong Yit Kaya will be one of 75 local firms participating in the trade exhibition, up from 66 participants in the previous edition.
The exhibition has seen an increasing trend of Singapore businesses participating since 2006.
Almy Goh, marketing and research manager of Fong Yit Kaya, said: “Singaporeans eat tonnes of kaya (coconut jam) every month, every year… for a product that can be so well-loved, why is it not available, why can it not be available outside of Singapore?”
The exhibition is one of the region’s biggest of its kind, providing a platform for local firms to secure deals with overseas clients.
In the 2012 show, Singapore companies snagged S$1.79 million in sales onsite.
Overall, their key markets are in Asia – with Malaysia leading the pack.
Last year, Singapore’s food and beverage exports hit S$1.3 billion in Malaysia — with China taking second spot, at almost S$1 billion.
Indonesia is among the fastest-growing markets for Singapore food companies, with S$747 million in exports last year.
One value proposition Singapore companies can offer is a provision of special products for the global Muslim market.
Oishi International, for example, makes ice-cream flavours from green tea to Yubari melon. They are halal-certified.
Singapore’s reputation for quality is probably another reason why its food exports are thriving.
Lee Yee Fung, Group Director of Lifestyle Business at International Enterprise Singapore, said: “In this era, where people are very concerned about food safety, about traceability, given the food scares that has happened in the past. I think this works well in our favour.”
And it seems the best approach in reaching overseas is to band together.
Sunny Koh, Chairman of Singapore Manufacturing Federation, Membership & Industry Groups FC, said: “Don’t look at your fellow manufacturer as your competitor. Our competitor is not here, it’s overseas… banding together, you can do mega-event.”
The exhibition is expected to draw over 45,000 trade visitors from more than 90 countries.
Source : Channel News Asia | April 3, 2014