Singapore food SMEs unite to secure shelf space in major Indonesian supermarkets

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The products are stocked in four major Indonesian supermarkets.
The products are stocked in four major Indonesian supermarkets.

Related tags Food

More than 100 Singapore SME food firms – from manufacturers of fish balls to rice vermicelli – now have their products stocked in major Indonesia supermarkets.

The year-long initiative by Tasty Singapore Food Aisle ​project, spearheaded by the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore allows food firms to sell their projects in Indonesia under common Singapore branding.

The products are available in AEON, Diamond, FoodHall and Farmers Market stores.

Singapore is keen to boost its number of food exports, especially among SMEs. The city state is currently working towards implementing its Food Industry Transformation Map to help the segment achieve 4.5% annual productivity gains, while opening up 2,000 new managerial and technical jobs by 2020.

Whereas policymakers estimate that 17 food businesses currently do business of over S$100m a year, they hope to increase this number to 25 in the next four years, and the initiative expects there to have been at least 50 new innovative product launches by local SMEs by 2020.

This latest Indonesian venture will allow the SMEs to access the country’s 250 million population, with the rising middle class creating big opportunities for food manufacturers.

However, the supermarket retail segment has high entry costs and is highly competitive. By clustering Singapore food companies and working with leading supermarkets to create shelf space, IE and SMFA say  companies benefit from synergies created by working together.

According to Lim Kay Kheng, director of sales & marketing at sesame oil firm Chee Seng Oil Factory Pte Ltd, which is participating for the third time, the scheme creates a fast-track route to enter the supermarkets: “With the growing affluence of Indonesia’s middle class, we have seen a growing demand for quality products in Indonesia.

More participation

“Participating in the Tasty Singapore Food Aisle allows us to leverage the Singapore branding to raise awareness of our product brand. On our own, it would have taken much longer to get into such top-tier supermarkets. Our distribution has improved since the first run and we project a healthy growth of 2–5% for the next three to five years.”

This year is the first time IE Singapore — the government agency that promotes international trade —  united with SFMA to encourage more SMEs to participate.

SFMA president Thomas Pek said: “Singapore’s food manufacturing industry has been seeking out opportunities in growing regional markets such as Indonesia. Leveraging the Tasty Singapore branding and adopting a collaborative mindset to band together as a group, the collective brand identity better communicates the distinct personality and flavours of our food products along with international standards of food safety.”

Besides Indonesia, IE Singapore and SFMA are expanding the food aisle concept to growing markets such as India. They will also explore working with overseas partners on digital concepts such as through e-commerce platforms to help more SMEs scale up overseas.

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