Mr Samuel Koh, Group Chief Executive Officer of Yeo Hiap Seng,
Mr Johan Rabe, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Oatly,
Mr Gary Curty, Global Contract Manufacturing Director of Oatly,
Mr Desmond Chik, Singapore Site Director of Oatly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. Thank you Team Oatly for inviting me to grace the opening of your production plant today, and to visit your first manufacturing facility in Asia, right here in Singapore.
Food supply has become a pressing global issue
2. The pandemic has thrust the agri-food industry into the spotlight. Strained food production systems have highlighted the need for diversified and resilient food supply chains.
3. This comes amidst other global trends such as urbanisation and climate change. Both have reduced, and will continue to reduce the availability of agricultural resources, resulting in uncertainties in food production.
4. At the same time, population growth and rising incomes will continue to increase the demand for food.
a. By 2050, the world population is expected to grow from 7 billion today, to 10 billion.
b. Rising per capita incomes will also contribute to a higher demand for food products such as livestock, dairy products and vegetable oils.
c. In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that global food production must grow by 70% to meet the needs of the increased world population.
5. This combination of supply and demand factors will play out strongly in Asia, as consumers become wealthier, and demand higher quality and more nutritious foods that are produced in environmentally sustainable ways.
6. Against this backdrop, we need to explore innovative and sustainable ways to produce quality food products that can help resolve this global food challenge.
Opening of Oatly’s production plant in Singapore
7. I am therefore delighted to see this collaboration between Oatly and Yeo’s, our local beverage company, and to be here today to celebrate the opening of Oatly’s production plant in Singapore. Again, my sincere congratulations to Oatly.
8. As the world’s largest oat drink company, Oatly produces alternatives to milks, ice creams, yoghurts, cooking creams, spreads and on-the-go drinks, with the Oatly brand being available in more than 20 countries worldwide.
9. So it is exciting to see how this partnership will spice up our growing agri-food ecosystem, and bring more environmentally sustainable and refreshing options to the table.
Innovative production technologies will help to ensure sustainability
10. With climate change in the spotlight, global agriculture, which currently accounts for 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions, has been under pressure to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
11. And agri-food companies like Oatly have the special recipe to help make this happen.
a. According to a study by Poore and Nemecek, producing a glass of dairy milk generates almost 3 times the greenhouse gas emissions of producing the same volume of non-dairy milk.
b. To produce a glass of dairy milk every day for a year, you’ll need 650 square meters of land – about the size of 2 tennis courts. This is more than 10 times the amount of land required to produce oat milk.
12. For Singapore, Oatly’s production technologies can fortify our food resilience.
a. I understand that Oatly’s production plant in Singapore has the capacity to produce 7,500 to 8,000 packages of oat milk per hour, or 60 million litres of oat milk in a year.
b. This can meet about 20% of Singaporeans’ milk consumption, if we are willing to switch to plant-based diary.
Creating economic and job opportunities
13. This production plant will not only help put food on the table literally, but also figuratively.
14. Oatly’s production plant will create new jobs in Singapore, with interesting opportunities for Singaporeans in the areas of engineering, bioprocessing, and product management.
15. As your production plant works to meet the growing demand for plant-based dairy in the Asia-Pacific, employees can look forward to witnessing the growth of the plant-based protein sector from the frontlines, while picking up new skills.
a. One such employee is Mr Abdul Subahan, a fresh grad from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Mechatronics Engineering.
b. Abdul operates manufacturing equipment for the production of the oat base, including daily maintenance and problem solving.
c. I’m glad to hear that Abdul is enjoying his learning journey at Oatly.
The Singapore Government’s commitment to supporting agri-food companies
16. The Singapore Government is committed to helping agri-food companies like Oatly build new capabilities, innovate, and create good jobs in Singapore.
a. Singapore’s multidisciplinary technical expertise and track record in IP protection remains a strong value proposition for agri-food companies to grow their businesses here.
b. Under the Singapore Food Story R&D programme, our Government is also investing up to SGD 144 million to turn Singapore’s food challenges into opportunities.
c. This programme focuses on 3 themes, namely: (i) Sustainable Urban Food Production; (ii) Future Foods: Advanced Biotech-based Protein Production; and (iii) Food Safety Science and Innovation.
17. As more agri-food companies set up in Singapore, we will continue to grow our talent pool through training programmes with Institutes of Higher Learning, and through engaging industry leaders as training partners, to help adapt existing expertise in established adjacent sectors.
18. In doing so, we hope to grow our agri-food sector and support companies like Oatly in their vision to make the world a better place, starting from food.
19. Congratulations once again to Oatly on the opening of your production plant in Singapore, and we look forward to opportunities for further collaborations with you. Thank you.