IE Singapore, SMF tie up to put Singapore-made food products on regional supermarket shelves

Indonesians shop staples at a supermarket in Jakarta on June 7, 2016.
Indonesians shop staples at a supermarket in Jakarta on June 7, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) are working together to get locally made food on the store shelves of supermarket chains in South-east Asia.

Singapore food products have traditionally not been easily found in supermarkets in Asia as companies face high entry costs and difficulty in products registration, said IE Singapore in a media release on Wednesday (July 20).

The agency said that South-east Asia's rising middle class has raised demand for more variety and quality of food but, on their own, Singapore food manufacturers lack networks and financial resources to promote their products.

IE Singapore said the working in partnership (WIP) programme offers economies of scale, cost savings, as well as fast-track entry into markets.

Said Mrs Tan Li Lin, its group director for customer services: "The coming together of Singapore food manufacturers under the WIP programme allows for collective Singapore branding. This helps to drive sales for our companies. We will be applying this concept to other South-east Asia markets and Asia, as well as expanding beyond the food sector to benefit more SMEs."

An illustrated explanation of problems faced by SMEs.
An illustrated explanation of problems faced by SMEs. SOURCE: IE SINGAPORE

There are now two participating supermarkets in South-east Asia in the WIP programme - Central Food Group in Thailand and City Mart in Myanmar, the biggest supermarket chains in the respective countries. Coming up is a partnership in Rustans in Philippines, with plans to have the fourth partner on board by end 2016. Following the promotional activities in the supermarkets, many companies have succeeded in securing permanent listings, said IE Singapore.

Said SMF deputy president Sunny Koh: "With the WIP programme, we eliminate importers/distributors in the procurement chain, thus reducing overall cost. The extra margins are returned to the companies, thus improving their retail price and benefiting the consumers. With increasing competition from e-commerce, being able to narrow the price gap between the physical retail shop and e-shop is crucial for success overseas."