With the opportunities identified, the SMCCI is helping Singapore halal food brands specialising in these areas to gain entry into the China halal food market, Zaki Masturi, programme manager from SMCCI told FoodNavigator-Asia.
Examples of halal ingredients include pastes, sauces, while halal processed food include fish balls and chicken nuggets.
As for RTE food, they include satay and dendeng (barbequed chicken or beef).
“SMCCI will also look into food which are unique to our region as well as in demand for the Chinese consumers,” Masturi added.
“With the influx of businesses from Muslim countries entering China, there has been a growing demand in halal food. Hence SMCCI feels this is too great an opportunity to ignore for the majority of our members.”
SMCCI plans to organise one business mission to China each year, with about 15 companies on board, as a way to help Singapore food firms to enter China’s halal and non-halal food market.
“SMCCI will conduct business missions to China to help members learn and understand the market via programs subsidised by Enterprise SG,” Masturi said.
Following which, the organisation targets to help 10 member companies which are ready to expand to connect with food manufacturers, restaurants, franchisers, and other relevant stakeholders to export their products into China.
“We hope a minimum of 50% of these companies would be able to successfully enter into the China halal market by way of MOU, export agreement, setting up, franchising etc,” he added.
SMCCI first facilitated business missions to China last July. The team visited Beijing back then.
Besides China, SMCCI also plans to organise business missions to Dubai, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The missions are not only catered to members from the food and beverage sector, but also other sectors such as retail and construction.
Singapore’s competitive edge
The SMCCI said that Singapore halal food brands are able to gain a competitive edge against rival firms, since the country’s halal certification is widely recognised and sought after, and have undergone strict quality control to ensure food safety.
Masturi also added that Singapore’s halal ingredients "are not meant to compete but to supplement the ever growing demand of halal food in China.”
At present, about 27% of SMCCI’s 700 members belong to the F&B cluster, and all are them are certified to produce halal food.
Efforts from neighbouring country
Neighbouring country Malaysia has also plans to penetrate China’s halal market.
The country will also conduct a working visit to China as a way to gain entry into the market.
“We plan to use such a platform to penetrate the Chinese and Japanese markets as we see a high demand for the halal food industry there,” local media The Star quoted Jimmy Puah, the chairman of Johor International Trade, Investment and Utilities Committee.
The committee will also hold working trips to the UAE, Australia, the US, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, with the first trip for this year set for Dubai.
“I will visit Dubai to attend the world’s largest food festival as we are interested in the food processing field. We want to make Johor a halal hub in the region,” he added.