Mr Christopher McCuin, Managing Director, Montgomery Events Asia,
Mr Victor Mah, President, Singapore Coffee Association,
Mr David Tan, President, Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association,
Mr Alvin Kwek, President, Meat Traders’ Association (Singapore),
Mr Lawrence Pek, Secretary-General, Singapore Manufacturing Federation,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to the combined Opening Ceremony for this year’s five food and beverage-related trade shows. After a two-year hiatus, I am glad to see the return of Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia for their fourth editions. In addition, three new trade shows are making their debut - Speciality Coffee & Tea Asia, Meat & Poultry Asia, and Food2Go. This year’s megashow sends a strong signal that Singapore continues to be a vibrant hub of exchange and business for the food and beverage industry in the region.
Singapore’s F&B industry is well connected, globally competitive, and offers a distinct value proposition
2. Over the last two years, the F&B sector has battled several waves of disruptions. Despite the challenges, many have pressed on and shown great tenacity in repositioning their businesses and seizing new opportunities.
a. In today's environment of disrupted food supply chains, I am encouraged to see the F&B industry coming together to explore new innovations, exchange best practices, and strengthen business networks. By co-locating five trade shows, this year’s event brings together food manufacturers, food service companies, wholesale traders, hospitality companies, and retailers that span the entire F&B value chain.
b. This will enable the industry to remain well connected, globally competitive, and offer distinct value propositions.
3. I would like to thank the Singapore Coffee Association, Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association, Meat Traders’ Association (Singapore), and Singapore Manufacturing Federation for partnering with Montgomery Events Asia to make this year’s event possible. Trade associations and business chambers are indeed key to driving industry initiatives and collaborations which strengthen business partnerships and forge new networks.
a. Over these three days, the five trade shows will see over 180 exhibitors host more than 5,000 attendees. In particular, the Singapore Pavilion will feature over 70 companies.
b. The strong participation rate demonstrates that Singapore and overseas companies are eager and ready to seek business opportunities with regional counterparts through such platforms.
4. In addition to this solid foundation of industry expertise and partnerships, the F&B industry can tap on two additional elements to ride the next wave of growth. They are: 1) continual innovation and robust support from the business ecosystem and 2) trade networks. Let me elaborate.
Innovation will enable businesses to seize growth opportunities in the F&B industry
5. First, innovation is critical for businesses to maintain their competitive edge and be ready to seize potential growth opportunities.
a. A key thrust of the Food Services Industry Transformation Map 2025 launched last month focused on catalysing innovation to generate new revenue streams. With a stream of new products and services, businesses can meet rapidly changing consumer preferences. Today, many consumers place convenience, health and wellness, and sustainability high on their wishlist.
b. To support businesses on their innovation journey, Enterprise Singapore will partner research institutes, Institutes of Higher Learning, and large local and foreign companies to provide SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the F&B industry with end-to-end support. Companies can look forward to knowledge-sharing sessions, food product research and development, and access to go-to-market networks to help them pursue new innovation opportunities.
c. Let me give you an example of how we have supported the growth of agri-tech and food-tech companies through our partnership with the Singapore Agri-Food Innovation Lab, known as “SAIL”. Enterprise Singapore and Nanyang Technological University set up SAIL last November. It works with agri-food companies to establish problem statements and identify partnership opportunities with local SMEs and start-ups. These collaborations enable local SMEs and start-ups to testbed and scale their innovative solutions beyond Singapore.
6. Given the significant market potential of the growing F&B industry, more companies are venturing into food product innovation to capture these growth opportunities.
a. For example, Valency International, an international commodities trader headquartered in Singapore, has moved beyond trading and into the retail market. One of its innovative product lines targets the rising consumer demand for healthy and nutritious snacks. It sells nuts that use a unique sprouting process to remove the unwanted acid to maximise their nutritional value.
b. In addition, the company is also incorporating sustainable practices in its operations. It recycles cashew nut shells as clean alternative fuel for its production processes.
c. Valency International is one of the over 70 companies featured at the Singapore Pavilion.
7. Another Singapore company that has expanded its offering by innovating is Blue Ocean Aquaculture Technology, also known as “BOAT”. The company’s high-tech indoor aquaculture facility produces up to 18 tonnes of Jade Perch and Red Tilapia annually. You can have a taste of this locally-bred fish in the Tung Lok or Paradise group of restaurants.
a. During the pandemic, BOAT kept up with the shift towards dining-in by developing its own ready-to-eat Jade Perch noodles and collagen soup. BOAT’s nutritious and tasty products can all be found at the Singapore Pavilion.
8. Drop by the Pavilion to savour some of these delicious creations as you network and find new business opportunities. The many ideas and solutions on display at this year’s trade show are testament to the lively Singapore spirit of enterprise which has kept us resilient and going despite all odds.
Singapore’s business ecosystem and trade networks will support companies to secure growth opportunities
9. Supporting this strong resilience is a vibrant business ecosystem in Singapore, complemented by our country’s extensive trade networks.
a. The robust connectivity infrastructure and conducive business environment here offers a strategic base for local and international F&B players to organise their supply chains and grow their presence in the region and beyond.
b. We recently unveiled our Singapore Economy 2030 vision and Trade 2030 strategy which aims to deepen Singapore’s participation in global trade flows and supply chains.
c. Companies here can benefit from our network of 27 Free Trade Agreements and enjoy tariff savings and strong intellectual property and investment protection.
d. Singapore also facilitates food exports by issuing internationally recognised certificates and permits, which ensures that products are in line with important safety and regulatory standards. Our country’s reputation and strong “trust factor” accorded to food products exported from Singapore strengthen our position as a food export hub.
e. We welcome international and local F&B companies to leverage Singapore’s strong trading ecosystem and connections to tap into growing markets in the region. There are also plenty of opportunities for collaborations between global companies and Singapore companies in new growth areas such as sustainability and food innovation.
10. In addition to these strategic strengths, we have active and established trade associations that form an important backbone of support for enterprises to flourish. For instance, the Singapore Coffee Association identified speciality coffee as a niche product for Singapore to develop and expand as a regional trading hub. To ensure that the quality of coffee exported from and through Singapore is aligned with internationally recognised standards and certification, SCA teamed up with the ASEAN Coffee Federation to launch the ASEAN Coffee Institute in Singapore last year. I am glad to hear that an ASEAN standard for grading speciality coffee is now in the works.
11. A big thank you to all the stakeholders in the F&B industry for their active participation in this year’s trade shows. I am confident this event will spark fresh ideas, extend networks and forge enduring partnerships.
12. The world is an oyster for our enterprises to explore and conquer. I would like to encourage all our companies and participants here to take hold of the opportunities that our pro-business environment and extensive trade links offer. Take your business to higher heights, continue to innovate, capture new markets and seize the day.
13. Thank you.