Tony Robinson, Trade Commissioner Singapore
There is growing demand for high-quality frozen meat, seafood, and convenience foods.
As the shipping and logistics hub of Southeast Asia, Singapore is a gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. This makes it an ideal base for the South East Asia/Asia Pacific operations of many multinationals and New Zealand businesses operating in the region. Singapore is a highly developed market for food and beverage products, with affluent and sophisticated consumers looking for quality products and value for money.
Singapore is New Zealand’s 6th largest trading partner and 13th largest market for F&B products with exports valued at NZ$546 million. There is very little domestic food production in Singapore and a heavy reliance on imports with up to 90% of their food sourced internationally. There is growing demand for high-quality frozen meat, seafood, and convenience foods, as well as a growing consciousness around sustainability, organic products and functional foods.
The food and beverage opportunity is being given a boost by the Singapore government’s current drive for increased productivity. Compared with its low-cost neighbours, Singapore is a more expensive place to operate from, and this contributes to a drive for smarter, higher-value manufacturing. So food and beverage goods and services that help drive productivity are of increasing interest.
Opportunities in Singapore for food manufacturers are also driven by changes in consumer attitudes. Sales of packaged food and ‘healthy’ products have increased as a result of consumers’ increasing consciousness about food safety and hygiene.
Consumers are interested in branded, premium and added-value goods – crucial ingredients for a successful product launch in the country. Wealthy, time-poor consumers are looking for new processed and convenience foods, which can be sold at the premium end of the market. With growth opportunities available, the onus is on New Zealand food and beverage manufacturers to not look to export what they currently produce but rather deeply understand the Singaporean consumer first. Invest in the time to, amongst other things, determine purchase and consumption habits, pack size preferences, channels to market, and being clear on what problem is being solved for the consumer and in a way no one else is doing.
New Zealand has very established commercial links with Singapore, a broad range of food and beverage products currently being exported to there and a reputation for food safety and innovation.
Meanwhile, Singapore has a growing resident and tourist population which depends on imports for the bulk of its food supply. Trade flows well with an established Free Trade Agreement in place between the two countries and with Singapore being a springboard into the rest of ASEAN. Combined, these make Singapore a bright prospect for food and beverage manufacturers who can deeply understand the needs of prospective customers and collaborate with suitably matched partners in market to help meet Singapore’s growth opportunities.