Speech by MOS Alvin Tan for Asia's Great Snack Challenge Grand Final Event

Speech by MOS Alvin Tan for Asia's Great Snack Challenge Grand Final Event

1. Good afternoon everyone. It is my pleasure to join you today for the grand final of the second edition of Asia’s Great Snack Challenge.


2. First off, congratulations to our finalists for snacking through the multiple rounds of selection to make it here. I hope you had a fruitful journey thus far.


The snack subsector in Singapore


3. Now, we all know that Singaporeans are passionate about food. Eating is our favourite national pastime. We can go to great lengths to search for delicious food – travelling across Singapore and scouring shops and supermarkets for good food and snacks. If there is a discount, even better – we will travel twice as far to get our hands on it!


4. The good news is that we are not just great eaters. We complement it by being great food manufacturers too. Despite our small size, Singapore is home to a globally competitive and vibrant food manufacturing industry, with an output of SGD10 billion in 2020 and close to 1,000 enterprises spanning across all food categories.


5. In particular, the snack subsector is one of the fastest growing segments within Singapore’s food manufacturing industry, with an expected revenue of approximately SGD440 million in 2021.


a. With many Singaporeans working from home, I’m sure many of us, myself included, have turned to snacking as a source of comfort and energy, and for a brief respite.


b. So it is no surprise that brands like Uncle Saba’s Poppadoms saw their annual revenue grow by over 30% last year, due to both local and overseas demand.


Continuous innovation and new product development are key ingredients for the success of our snack subsector


6. While there is great potential in the snacks industry, the market for snacks is also highly competitive, with fast-changing consumer preferences and rapidly evolving trends. In the past year alone, we have seen around 300 new snacks make their way onto our shelves. You can almost have a new snack every day for the whole year!


7. So how can our snack brands remain relevant and succeed in such a competitive environment?


8. A key ingredient is the need for companies to continuously innovate and develop new products, so that they can keep pace with consumers’ changing habits and preferences.


a. Some of our local companies have been able to meet the demand for healthier snacks, through innovative products such as Fupi’s beancurd skin snacks, and EDENS’ mushroom chips.


b. Another example is Kakejo’s Aroma Truffle potato chips, which was born from their vision to make a premium ingredient like truffle more accessible to the masses. Through strategic ingredient sourcing and extensive research and development, Kakejo successfully produced a luxurious product at an affordable price point, which is now stocked in our local supermarkets and multiple overseas markets.


c. I would really like to encourage our food manufacturing companies to draw inspiration from our multicultural food heritage in their innovation journeys. There is no better laboratory than Singapore, with our diverse consumers and palates, to experiment with creating unique flavours to meet demand from across the world.


The Singapore Government is committed to supporting companies in their innovation process


9. The Singapore Government is committed to supporting companies in your innovation process.


a. In 2018, we launched the FoodInnovate initiative, which seeks to grow Singapore’s food manufacturing industry through innovation.


b. This FoodInnovate initiative supports our food manufacturers’ use of technology to commercialise new products, and provides companies with financial support, as well as connections to a global network of partners and experts.


c. To date, FoodInnovate has supported our companies in the commercialisation of over 300 new products, and opened up opportunities for our food manufacturers to collaborate with FoodTech startups.


i. For instance, Lim Kee has collaborated with Alchemy Foodtech to incorporate the latter’s GI-lowering fibre blend in a range of rice-based ready meals to cater to consumers’ demand for convenient yet healthy food.


ii. Killiney has also collaborated with Nanyang Beverage to launch a reduced sugar instant coffee that is a convenient and healthier take on our most well-loved traditional beverage.


10. Such collaborations demonstrate the win-win nature of partnerships between our established and aspiring food manufacturers. And it is this relationship that is at the heart of Asia’s Great Snack Challenge.




11. It is really encouraging to see the support we have received this year, from:


a. Established brands such as Tong Garden, Mr Bean, Polar Puffs & Cakes and Haidilao, who have stepped forward to mentor our 10 finalists;


b. Companies like KH Roberts, Tolaram, Nestle, and Khong Guan Biscuits, who have kindly sponsored the prizes, and SATS, who offered their expertise in packaging design and marketing;


c. Centres of Innovation like the Food Innovation and Resource Centre, who have supported the technical aspects of product development and taste profiles have also played their part; and also


d. Our retail partners, FairPrice Group and Lazada/Redmart, who will be helping to market test our finalists’ products through their online platforms and retail channels.


12. A huge thank you to all mentors, sponsors, and partners for making this year’s challenge a success.


13. Lastly, I wish the finalists all the best in your pitches later, and I look forward to trying your products when they hit the shelves. Thank you.

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