Initiative helps local food firms get exposure for new products

Known as YumSing!, the initiative allows the firms to sell, test and fine-tune new products with major supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice before marketing them on a larger scale.
Known as YumSing!, the initiative allows the firms to sell, test and fine-tune new products with major supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice before marketing them on a larger scale.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Local food companies will be able to get their new products out in supermarkets faster, under an initiative launched on Saturday (Aug 18).

Known as YumSing!, the initiative allows the firms to sell, test and fine-tune new products with major supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice before marketing them on a larger scale.

It is a collaboration between NTUC FairPrice, Enterprise Singapore and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).

Companies do not have to pay product assessment and listing fees. Sales data will also be generated to help them tweak their pricing, packaging and promotion strategies.

They can also tap the expertise of academic staff from NYP's School of Business Management in areas such as marketing, e-commerce and business research.

At the launch, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said such efforts go towards helping local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to conquer markets here and abroad.

Mr Chan also sampled locally-made food products at the event, held at the NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Tampines Mall.

Ms Kee Ai Nah, executive director of the lifestyle and consumer cluster at Enterprise Singapore, said new product concepts with no proven track record often face challenges in retailing, possibly due to uncertainty in market receptivity and customer demand.

Six NTUC FairPrice stores - at Bukit Timah Plaza, JEM, Rivervale Plaza, Singpost Centre, Sun Plaza and Tampines Mall - will offer the space for the SMEs to showcase their new products over a period of three months.

The products will also be available on the supermarket chain's online portal, FairPrice On, during the trial period.

NTUC FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng said the programme "aims to provide these SMEs with a platform to gather customer insights on their products, offer dedicated retail spaces to test new products with the market, and accord special consideration for the listing of their products at our stores".

NTUC FairPrice currently carries more than 4,500 locally-made products. It also works with SMEs to produce its own housebrand items.

Six food firms will be taking part in the first cycle of the programme.

Among them is Hiap Giap Food, which manufactures and supplies traditional dry Asian noodles and dim sum skin to hawkers, food courts and restaurants. It is showcasing its oriental crispy noodle and oriental hotpot noodle products under The Noodle Factory brand.

Mr Clement Chong, sales executive at the food company, said such an initiative gives SMEs "a shortcut" to get its new products listed.

"We now get more exposure by having our products at these supermarkets with high human traffic, and it is definitely easier to reach our consumers," he added.