SMEs should tap on scientific research to remain competitive, says Heng Swee Keat

Research officer Wang Nan Xin (left) preparing a sugar sample for Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat to taste.
Research officer Wang Nan Xin (left) preparing a sugar sample for Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat to taste.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

SINGAPORE - Eating rice with tofu, instead of other proteins like chicken, fish or egg, works best in bringing down blood glucose levels.

Such findings, made in just the past six months by the two-year-old Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, can be tapped on by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here to stand out from their competition, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday(April 29).

"The research work being done here can certainly add a lot of value to our SMEs because they will need to think about how they can make use of good scientific knowledge to change their product," he said during a tour of the Centre.

"For instance, whether it's in the ingredients they use, in the formulation of the food and in creating new product, there's a range of very important work... (that) also adds to the safety and credibility of the food produced by our SMEs."

The government will ensure that such research are not "just kept in the institutes" but adopted by food companies to create products that will give them a competitive edge, he said.

It has set aside some funding from the $4.5 billion Industry Transformation, announced by Mr Heng during his Budget speech in March, to grow the industry, he added.

Among its research areas, the Centre studies how Asian food can be innovated to be both tasty and nutritious. Noting that food companies here export products to many Asian countries, he added: "Singapore has a reputation of food safety and quality. By adding this layer of nutrition, how nutrition affects human health, will give our food companies, especially our SMEs, an important competitive edge."