SINGAPORE - Singapore is looking to give a boost to its products for the international market in the coming months, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (Sept 21).
This will start with products in the food and beverage (F&B), beauty and wellness, fashion and accessories, homeware and decor sectors, through the introduction of a Singapore brand for consumer lifestyle products in November.
This brand mark of Singapore quality enables the certification and qualification of products in Singapore for the export market, which would allow the products to command a premium on the international market and stand out among global competition.
Speaking at a virtual press conference after a visit to local food manufacturer KH Roberts, Mr Chan said that the focus on quality will be a key differentiation for Singapore products in the food industry.
"We will further amplify this to make sure that consumer interests and the purchase of local brands will be enhanced, not just in the Singapore market, but also in the overseas market," he noted.
A road map for the mark and related plans for the various sectors will be revealed in "due course", he added.
"We see ourselves being able to value-add and entrench our value-add at critical parts of the global value chain, and that will allow us (to) not only have an expanding market, but it will also strengthen our own domestic food resilience," Mr Chan said.
The food manufacturing and services industry is expected to be a key pillar of diversified growth sectors in Singapore, Mr Chan said.
The food services segment consists of more than 10,000 firms, which account for some 0.8 per cent of Singapore's annual gross domestic product (GDP). More than 180,000 workers are employed in this sub-sector.
The food manufacturing segment comprises over 940 enterprises, contributing about 1.1 per cent to Singapore's annual GDP and employing over 48,000 workers.
Mr Chan highlighted that the food manufacturing segment has grown consistently before the Covid-19 pandemic, recording a compounded annual growth rate of about 6.45 per cent between 2013 to 2018.
While the sector has seen its fair share of supply chain and other challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic, it looks to be continuing its growth trajectory, he noted.
"With the growing Asian middle-class market, the demand for good quality food comes with other higher demands," Mr Chan said, citing the assurance of quality as a key concern for such consumers.
This will play to Singapore's strengths, and there are opportunities for job creation in this sector, he said.
One of the ways the Republic can play a key role globally is through upstream research and development efforts, Mr Chan said, such as its push for agri-tech development and collaborative efforts between institutes of higher learning and companies here.
For example, KH Roberts set up an industrial lab with the Singapore Institute of Technology in 2019, which has allowed students access to equipment and collaboration with the company's technicians and scientists. One of the instruments that students are able to access is an extruder, which transforms proteins into meat-like substances or plant-based products.
"We are fortunate to be able to host that equipment here for the students to have (practical) experience, and also for us to work on industry-type projects for potential customers," said KH Roberts chief executive Peter Ong.