SINGAPORE – When processed meat manufacturer’s subsidiary, Ellaziq, developed new pate (meat spread) flavours with the help of the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC), these halal products attracted the interest of visitors to the 2012 Gulfood Expo in Dubai, the largest and most influential annual trade show for the food and beverage industry.
These flavours included olive salmon, butter chicken and black pepper crab.
The new products, with their premium image, also allowed the company to engage higher-end customer segments, such as airlines and hotels.
This example was one of the more than 140 projects that have benefitted from the government when it funded the $45 million Food Manufacturing Productivity Plan last November.
And more than $6 million from the Productivity Plan have since been committed, revealed Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development at the Food Manufacturing Productivity Conference held at the Singapore Expo today.
But more can be done to improve and increase productivity in the food manufacturing sector, said Mr Lee.
Citing a study that compared 12 countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United States, Mr Lee said Singapore still lags behind countries such as the US, Japan and Korea, mainly because manufacturers here still rely largely on low-cost workers to drive productivity, and also invest less in automation.
However, food manufacturers are gradually increasing in the take-up of productivity initiatives in areas such as manpower training and development, innovative and higher-value products, collaboration for economies of scale, and automation and process improvements
And to help food manufacturers raise their productivity levels, Mr Lee said that the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) @ Singapore Polytechnic will set up a food automation unit, to provide food automation solutions and advisory services to food manufacturing companies.
The new unit will offer technical expertise in designing and developing customised food automation solutions, maintain a data base of equipment suppliers and conduct industry-wide training.
It will target to help at least 350 food companies over the next three years.
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