Govt launches road map to transform food services industry

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam launches the roadmap to transform Singapore's food services industry.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam launches the roadmap to transform Singapore's food services industry. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Food Services Transformation Map, first of 23 industry-specific road maps, was launched on Thursday (Sept 8) morning.

These road maps are designed to promote the growth and competitiveness of Singapore's key industries.

"We are bringing together our initiatives for productivity, innovation, SkillsFuture and enterprise internationalisation for each industry, to ensure maximum effectiveness and impact," said Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies.

He was speaking at the opening of Select Group's corporate headquarters and the launch of the food services industry transformation map.

The critical issues facing the industry are those of raising productivity and reducing reliance on manpower, Spring Singapore said in a media release. The food services industry contributes to 0.8 per cent of GDP but employs about 160,000 workers - a disproportionate 4.5 per cent of Singapore's workforce.

The road map for industry will work towards the achievement of an annual productivity growth target of 2 per cent without any increase in manpower over the next five years.

Its key features include: developing innovative formats like Ready-to-Eat meals; promoting mass adoption of manpower-lean technologies; raising employees' skills and versatility, and expanding the footprint of Singapore's F&B companies in overseas markets.

For example, Spring Singapore estimates that by 2025, three out of eight dining experiences in Singapore will involve new formats like grab-and-go vending machines, he noted.

The Government also launched VendCafe in Anchorvale last month, Singapore's first food vending machine cafe.

On the manpower front, Mr Tharman noted that "we have to work on the basis that there will be no further manpower growth in the industry. The heavy reliance on low-skilled workers also cannot continue."

So, among the ways forward include digital services like electronic payments, and redesigning jobs to be more fulfilling, provide career progression and raise wages.

The food services industry transformation map (ITM) together with retail, food manufacturing and hotel ITMs fall under a Lifestyle cluster. Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Select Group managing director Vincent Tan will co-chair a team of industry practitioners and unionists to oversee the implementation of the ITMs for the Lifestyle cluster.