New digital platforms for local food manufacturers to access overseas markets

New digital platforms for local food manufacturers to access overseas markets

Overseas buyers will now be able to purchase food products in bulk from Singapore through a new mobile application.

SINGAPORE: Overseas buyers will now be able to purchase food products in bulk from Singapore through a new mobile application.

It is a digital extension of an existing programme called “Working in Partnership” by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), where purchase orders are manually consolidated from individual food manufacturers before being shipped overseas. 

The business-to-business (B2B) app was one of several initiatives launched by Enterprise Singapore and SMF on Tuesday (Apr 24) at a food and hospitality trade show Food & Hotel Asia 2018 (FHA2018). 

Called the SMF SMART App, overseas buyers can access all products listed on the app, allowing for easier consolidation of online orders. 

There are currently 871 products being sold by 103 Singapore companies on the app’s digital marketplace. 

The app also has a function which allows buyers to check the authenticity of the Singapore products through the use of QR codes. 

Another initiative is the launch of a website where the range of Singapore products showcased at the trade show can also be browsed on Alibaba.com. 

According to SMF’s deputy president Sunny Koh, these initiatives will help local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reach out to overseas markets like Southeast Asia.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who officiated the launch, said that internationalisation is a key growth strategy for Singapore’s food services and manufacturing companies. 

Dr Koh also announced a new B2B e-sourcing platform by Zeemart, which links up major food suppliers such as Australian Fruit Juice and Globe Mart with their clients, making it easier for food service operators to buy and source for food supplies. 

The platform will supposedly help over 100 food service operators cut down costs by 5 per cent to 15 per cent and is expected to launch at the end of July. 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR FOOD SERVICES INDUSTRY

Several new technologies for the food services industry were also on exhibit at FHA2018. 

One of them is Makko, also dubbed “The Robot Chef”, which is part of a RESTAURANT 3.0 showcase aimed at encouraging more SMEs in the industry to adopt new technologies. 

Makko robotic arm
Makko is a pre-programmed robotic arm that is able to perform simple cooking functions such as frying and grilling. (Photo: Janice Lim)

Developed in-house by a local restaurant Mak’s Place, Makko is a pre-programmed robotic arm that is able to perform simple cooking functions such as frying and grilling. 

Its founder, Mr Feroz Mak, said that the impetus for developing such a robot was the lack of manpower in his restaurant. He added that the robotic arm will soon be commercialised. 

Dr Koh said at FHA2018’s opening ceremony that it is critical for companies to embrace new technologies. 

“Such technologies can be leveraged to redesign work processes, reduce manpower needs and improve customer experience. This, in turn, can help improve profitability and productivity,” he added. 

More than one-third of food outlets in Singapore have already adopted some of the technologies showcased at the event, according to Enterprise Singapore.

Source: CNA/mz(hm)

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