28 February 2017 – SMF organised a visit to the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) for members of the Food and Beverage Industry Group (F&B IG) and Automation Technology Industry Group (AT IG). The session saw an attendance of over 50 members from both industry groups attending to learn about the capabilities and services FIRC could offer, and also to network with each other to seek collaborative partnership opportunities.
As the food and beverage market continues to expand in an increasingly technologically sophisticated economy, companies must incorporate technology in their product and process development, including packaging, shelf life evaluation and market testing.
“Buck up or be left out,” was Mr Sunny Koh, Chairman of the Food and Beverage Industry Group’s harsh but real advice to attendees. “We have been trying to help SMEs and at SMF we have more than 170 funding schemes in Singapore for them. However, at the end of the day, you must be willing to help yourself,” he said.
FIRC was set up in 2007 to help food enterprises in the innovation or product shelf life improvement. A joint initiative by Singapore Polytechnic and SPRING Singapore, the centre has a team of experts to provide food enterprises with technical expertise to help develop new product variants, solve manufacturing issues, and adopt new practices.
The session included speakers from relevant industries. Mr Brandon Lee, Chairman of SMF’s Automation Technology Industry Group shared how SMF members may tap on the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for precision engineering and support F&B companies in the road to automation.
“Many workers are aging and as the Singapore government realises this, they are encouraging the move towards automation to replace the jobs done by people. I am here to see if the SMEs in the food industry are ready for this,” said Ms Yvonne Yap, Senior Marketing Associate from Hirata FA Engineering (S) Pte Ltd.
The session included a site tour of FIRC where participants were shown laboratories, test kitchens and sensory suits