Region in focus

Dateline Southeast Asia

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Dateline Southeast Asia

Related tags Barry callebaut Singapore Southeast asia

FairPrice extends waste-reduction pilot

After its pilot saw a 90% success rate, Singaporean supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice will now extend its waste reduction initiative to the mainstream, marking down price of produce that is nearing its expiry date.

Sliced fruit and vegetables will now be lowered in price to lessen the amount of waste its seven hypermarkets discard just because the produce’s appearance is not up to scratch.

A pilot conducted over the last week saw 90% of repackaged fruit and 70% of repackaged vegetables sold. 

"I believe we are on the right track and I believe also with all these public education going out consumers will realised that there is nothing wrong [with blemished products]​,” Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of NTUC FairPrice, said in Straits Times​. 

FairPrice also launched the industry's first food waste index, which will be used to measure the total food waste produced at its stores across the island. 

AEC the key for Indonesia's export strategy

The fast-progressing Asean Economic Community (AEC) presents a real opportunity for Indonesia to increase its export base without leaving the region, US Ambassador to the country, Robert Blake, has said. 

Asia’s second-fastest growing economy, Aean has a combined GDP of US$2.4tr from 626m consumers. With the region’s young population and swelling middle classes, this figures will no doubt continue to increase, Blake said.

So the AEC is an opportunity, not a threat. And as the largest market in Asean, Indonesia can capitalise more than any other Asean country because it can attract investment not only to produce goods and services for the Indonesian market, but also to export to the rest of the Asean market​.” 

Barry Callebaut opens Malaysia cocoa development centre

Barry Callebaut has opened its first cocoa application centre in Asia-Pacific. The Malaysian plant represents an investment of US$200,000 and extends the world’s biggest cocoa grinder’s range by providing prototype and concept development, product and process troubleshooting and sensory evaluation.

The centre, in Pasir Gudang, is located next to to one of Barry Callebaut’s largest cocoa factories in Asia-Pacific, where liquor, butter and powder—cocoa’s ingredients—are easily available. 

This proximity to cocoa ingredients, as well as the sensory experts at the factory, will facilitate the frequent testing and tasting required in the creation of new products, applications and processes, Barry Callebaut says.

Changing tastes are among the reasons why the company has decided to make this regional investment, says Peter Boone, Barry Callebaut’s chief innovation officer.

With rising incomes in Asia-Pacific, consumer taste is evolving; they are asking for more sophisticated flavours and colours. Cocoa, like no other ingredient, can give them this​,” Boone said. 

Barry Callebaut has four Asia-Pacific application centres and nine chocolate and cocoa factories.

Thailand to double buffalo herd

Thailand’s agriculture ministry is driving an attempt to double the country’s population of buffalos over the next five years in a bid to preserve buffalo farming as a traditional form of agriculture.

Minister Pitipong Puengboon na Ayutthaya said the buffalo conservation and development project is part of the government’s effort to adjust the structure of livestock production during 2015- 2019. It comes in the wake of rapidly falling number of buffalo population in the country.

The project is expected to accelerate a 10% rise in reproductive-aged parent breeding stock from 25,000 to 45,250 in number with more high quality buffaloes. This will also increase income for 5,000 breeders by THB100,000 per person per year​,” said.Pitipong.

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