Driving dairy advances in South East Asia: Singapore researchers and US Dairy Export Council join forces

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

Under the MOU, USDEC and US dairy suppliers will work with FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge and develop products tailored to local tastes.
Under the MOU, USDEC and US dairy suppliers will work with FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge and develop products tailored to local tastes.
Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have signed a partnership agreement to maximise research and development opportunities across South East Asia.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lays out a framework under which USDEC and US dairy suppliers will work together with the FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge and develop products tailored to local tastes.

“Singapore is a hotbed of food innovation and the gateway to South East Asia,” ​said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC.

“FIRC’s team of food technologists, packaging specialists and engineers is at the forefront of establishing Singapore as a strategic food hub. We are very excited to be working with this innovative group and look forward to sharing US dairy technology and expertise.”

Martin Teo, technical director of food applications at USDEC Singapore, ​added, “This partnership allows US dairy suppliers to be at the forefront of the product development process, become more customer-centric and enhance their level of service.”

South East Asia is the second-largest market for US dairy exports globally and the largest outside of North America, valued at US$690m.

Growing Asian appetite for dairy

“One of FIRC’s objectives is to leverage science and technology to develop food innovations and capture new markets,”​ said Loong Mann Na, centre director of FIRC.

“We expect the dairy knowledge and spirit of innovation brought by USDEC and its members will advance progress toward that goal.”

The expanding US dairy product portfolio stems from investments in research and innovation along supply chain — from farm families to milk processors to cheese and ingredient manufacturers. The US’ commitment to delivering a sustainably produced milk supply can satisfy the South East Asian region’s growing appetite for dairy.

USDEC’s plan for 2018 focuses on how the US’ sustainably-produced product range of dairy protein, milk powder, specialty ingredients and cheese can fit taste preferences and nutritional requirements of the region. There are two primary areas of focus: health and wellness, and culinary.

USDEC is a non-profit, independent membership organisation that represents the global trade interests of US dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. It has had an office in South East Asia for 20 years, and around two dozen US suppliers currently have personnel based in Singapore or South East Asia.

Teo will serve as the key contact between US dairy suppliers and the FIRC.

FIRC is a joint venture between Singapore Polytechnic and Enterprise SG, a statutory board under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, formed in 2007 to provide food companies with technical expertise in new product and process development.

It is part of the government’s vision to position Singapore as a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia.

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