The undisclosed investment in its Biopolis plant reflects the firm’s shifting focus towards speciality ingredients and away from sucralose.
Last year Tate & Lyle closed its Singapore sucralose site in the wake of falling global profit margins. The factory had only opened in 2007.
Company representatives at the recent FI Asia show in Jakarta said the investment in the 270sq m Biopolis site was a major focus for the company regionally.
“We will be more than doubling the size of our laboratory in Singapore to help our customers meet growing demand from consumers for healthier, tastier and more convenient food in the region," the company added in a statement.
“The expanded laboratory will enable us to offer our customers additional services such as a pilot plant with scale food processing equipment. Further analysis capabilities will include the latest technology to predict shelf life for products, which will help us to reduce product development time.”
The lab expansion is due for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
“It will further establish Tate & Lyle's presence and position in the APAC region as a high value and expert ingredient provider and business partner,” the company added.
Meanwhile, in Jakarta, the company was concentrating on promoting the extension of the tapioca-based CLARIA line of functional clean label starches by introducing CLARIA Delight.
The company says it helps manufacturers meet rising demand for clean-label products, including ‘non-GM.’
Its texture is similar to modified tapioca starches, thickening and setting to form a soft, translucent gel that is especially desirable to consumers in applications like yoghurt.
“We have rolled this out globally, but we think there is great potential for this in Asia where 80-90% of all tapioca starches are used,” said Gerd Pedersen, regional lead, Texturants, Asia Pacific.
“Our focus for this product in Asia is in the yoghurt space, in terms of providing longer shelf life, which we are seeing as trend in China. It also has great potential in ASEAN countries such as Philippines and Indonesia,” he said, adding that a longer shelf life in these markets can help offset transportation and logistics challenges.
Tate & Lyle this year recorded a 5% rise in global profits, after a tough few years of trading.
Pedersen said he saw plenty of reasons for optimism in APAC.
“We are seeing the same growth rates we have seen in recent years, we don’t see any bumps at this time. There are still plenty of opportunities in this region.
“Clean label remains one key trend on the product side. We are undertaking a number of product extensions to make our starches more suitable for the Asian palette and market, and very soon we will be coming out with instant versions of the clean label starch too,” he said.