Singapore consumers rightly prize quality and safety as among the most important qualities in the food and drink they consume.
At a time when food security and price inflation concern us all, over a quarter of Singaporean consumers rank food safety as being more important than ever since Covid-19. From research carried out by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), consumers here want healthy, safe and sustainably produced food and are increasingly leaning towards foods that boost immunity.
Quality, safety and sustainability are qualities at the heart of food and drink production in Ireland. As an island nation on the western edge of Europe, noted for its fertile landscapes and temperate climate, Ireland is an island where quality food production flourishes naturally. With a population of five million, it is also a country adept at finding markets beyond its shores for this nutritionally rich and abundant supply.
In 2021, total food and drink exports from Ireland were worth €13.5 billion. By 2030, they are expected to rise to €21 billion. An increasing share of this high-quality output is destined for the Singapore market, where Irish food and drink exports were worth €36 million in 2021, and a record €535 million to the wider South East Asian market. Ongoing growth will mean new opportunities for Singaporean consumers to appreciate Ireland’s world-class dairy, beef, lamb, seafood and beverages.
Safeguarding a premium status
Not only does Ireland have an exceptional offering to make but, thanks to increasing inter-governmental cooperation, there has never been a better time to share Irish food and drink with consumers in Singapore. Ireland is a proud member of the European Union (EU) and this provides the context for increasing the availability of Irish food and drink products in a country that values quality and safety as much as Ireland does.
Ireland is keenly aware of Singapore’s own prospects to pursue the “30 by 30” plan to expand the share of domestic food production. It also knows that in response to the global food security crisis, the Singaporean government has taken measures to incentivise supply chain diversification and is always looking for a trustworthy continuous supplier while it builds up its own domestic produce.
Ireland’s standing as a source of high-quality food and drink may be relatively newly emerging in Singapore but it is one built on age-old traditions: family farming, open pastures and grass-rich diets form the basis of its two most important food exports – dairy and beef. A rich nutritional profile and depth of flavour confers Irish beef and Irish butter with premium status in many high-profile markets. Quality Assurance programmes, operated by Bord Bia, Irish Food Board, safeguard the premium status of much of Ireland’s output, including its beef, lamb and pigmeat exports. This is good news for consumers, because as part of the trade mission, Irish beef, lamb and salmon will be launched in retail for the first time in Singapore, with promotions and cooking demo events taking place at Singapore’s Ryan’s Grocery. A new campaign will also focus on promoting Irish beef, pigmeat, poultry and lamb in the Singaporean foodservice channel.
Bord Bia’s commitment to the quality, safety and nutritional value of Ireland’s food and drink is strengthened by a growing commitment to sustainability. Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance programmes operate under the auspices of Origin Green, the world’s only national food and drink sustainability initiative. Established in 2012, Origin Green supports the majority of Irish food and drink exporters as they continuously improve their sustainability performance. Customers of Irish food and drink can be confident they are working with suppliers whose sustainability objectives match their own.
As Bord Bia increase awareness of Irish food and drink in Singapore and the wider South East Asian market, it understands the importance of building relationships and deepening its market and consumer insight. The opening of Bord Bia’s South East Asia Centre of Excellence in 2016, and subsequent addition of human resources for the market, is a clear statement of its commitment to the market and its belief that a real opportunity now exists to increase connectivity between the two countries.
This year, Bord Bia is building further on the momentum with a trade mission led by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and involving Bord Bia and Irish food and drink companies. This follows on from successful C-suite level meetings held virtually in 2021 with national trade associations and key customers.
Bord Bia will also avail of the opportunity the trade mission presents to present 10 Irish food and drink companies at Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) in September 2022, which aims to enhance understanding among importers, retailers, foodservice providers, chefs and media outlets of Ireland as a secure supplier of quality, safe and sustainable beef, lamb, seafood and drinks.
It is undoubtedly an exciting time in relations between the two countries. Ireland and Singapore share an understanding that security of supply is key to allowing both countries to plan ahead for growth and success and, as such, Bord Bia is committed to developing durable business relationships with its customers in Singapore.
The trend in Singapore is clear: shoppers are now more likely to purchase from a well-known brand where the origin is traceable. Ireland's agri-food sector has long recognized the global demands for high-quality food and consumers' preference for sustainable practices.
With some of the world’s highest food production standards, Ireland, in turn, brings assurances around quality and safety that resonate deeply with consumers in Singapore. These offer the basis for a vibrant trade between the two countries in the years ahead.