Singapore and South Australia unite to drive functional food innovation among SMEs

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

SPRING recently identified functional foods as being a key growth area for the nation's SMEs. ©iStock
SPRING recently identified functional foods as being a key growth area for the nation's SMEs. ©iStock

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Singapore’s government enterprise body SPRING is joining forces with economic development agency Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) to collaborate on functional food innovation.

The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote business initiatives and share understanding.

SPRING is the driving force behind Singapore’s Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map,​ which aims to boost jobs, production, skills and innovation in the sector.

As part of the transformation, SPRING has established a Food Innovation Cluster (FIC) — a multi-agency body to encourage collaboration between MNCs, SMEs and researchers to speed up new product development.

Under the MoU, the FIC will work closely with the South Australian Food Innovation Centre (SAFIC) to deepen the economic ties between South Australia and Singapore.

“We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership with PIRSA to build complementary capabilities in emerging food innovation areas, including functional foods and food waste reduction,”​ said Ted Tan, deputy chief executive of SPRING.

“Singapore SMEs can access new food technologies and processing methods to accelerate the development of innovative products. It will also offer a launch pad for Australian companies entering the Asia market, creating win-win partnership opportunities with our SMEs.”

Ageing population

SPRING recently identified functional foods as being a key growth area​ for the nation's SMEs, noting that there will be rising demand for products tailored to the needs of Asia's ageing population.

Singapore is a key trade partner for South Australia. Between 2015 and 2016, the state’s agriculture, food and wine exports to Singapore were valued at AUD$111 million.

In Singapore, the food manufacturing industry also plays a significant role in the economy, with more than half its output being exported to countries such as Japan and China.

In 2015, the industry contributed S$3.7 billion to Singapore’s GDP and employed about 40,000 workers.

Professor Mehdi Doroudi, deputy chief executive of PIRSA, said: “This MOU will enable South Australia and Singapore to learn from each other’s efforts in food innovation by targeting a number of key focus areas, including research and development, commercialisation, product development, packaging innovation, and technology and knowledge exchange.”

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