© ALPHONSUS CHERN (Source: The Straits Times)
Singapore retailer NTUC FairPrice is working to reduce its packaging waste while maintaining food safety and quality in preparation for new packaging requirements. According to a report by Eco-Business, FairPrice Group, which includes NTUC FairPrice, has established a dedicated team to liaise with suppliers as it gets ready for the mandatory packaging reporting that will begin in Singapore next year. The reporting required by Singapore’s National Environment Agency is the start of a process towards establishing extended producer responsibility framework for packaging waste in Singapore by 2025. This would force companies to become more accountable for the packaging they produce.
Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of FairPrice Group, said addressing the problem of packaging waste has multiple benefits: “Tackling packaging waste earlier in the production process is a beneficial approach since it also helps the company to potentially save costs. We are constantly on the lookout to explore ways to reduce packaging waste while ensuring product safety and quality. A variety of packaging including cling wrap, foam nets, trays, and bags is used to ensure consistency, minimise damage and preserve the quality of the product, particularly for fresh produce such as leafy vegetables and corn. This means that we are able to prevent food wastage by lengthening the shelf life of this fresh produce.”
Billed as a day of networking-rich opportunities with the most brilliant minds to shape the future of Asian’s fresh produce landscape, the ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS 2020 is an international fresh produce conference event, very well-known in the industry. This event is at the centre of the fruit and vegetable sector in Asia, considered as one of the longest-running. It is organised in collaboration between ASIAFRUIT Magazine and ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA.
ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS 2020 will take place on November 17, 2020, in Singapore, that is to say one day before ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA. This trade fair itself was rescheduled a few weeks ago, to be held on November 18-20, 2020.
ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS 2020 will offer to professionals of the F&V sector the opportunity to discuss the impact the Covid-19 crisis may have had on their sector, especially in Asia, but also on the opportunities that have opened or closed in the F&V business. Delegates will thus have the opportunity to look to the future and the new openings that the year 2021 can offer, particularly in Asia.
“ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS has been developing a new and innovative multi-stage format that allows for an even wider range of business topics and the involvement of more expert speakers and panellists. It works especially well for a business conference after Covid-19. (…) It is an inspiring learning hub providing in-depth case studies from across Asia and beyond to demonstrate how market trends are changing, and how to respond to new demands.”
The event will bring together in the heart of Singapore more than 450 delegates from more than 40 different countries, hoping that no health crisis will postpone this event to 2021. It was held for the first time in Singapore in 1998. ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS is the cornerstone on which ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA was founded more than a decade ago.
In the face of severe disruption to the global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are already reassessing their dependency on imports to feed their populations. Singapore, imports over 90% of the food consumed by its 5.6 million residents, with Malaysia supplying 39% of the total. The country’s government has announced new measures to accelerate local food production, including the establishment of urban gardens on roofs and terraces, according to Reuters.
The government spokesperson said, “The current COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security. Local food production mitigates our dependence on imports and provides a buffer in the event of interruptions in the food supply.”
One issue that Singapore must overcome is its land shortage. Only 1% of the country’s 724 square kilometres is dedicated to agriculture. As such, the Singapore Food Agency is identifying suitable locations such as industrial areas. At the same time, it has launched a tender for rooftop gardens in public housing parking lots for urban agriculture.
Credit: Alexandra Sautois
Australia recorded a 6.6% increase in fresh vegetable exports in 2019 to €185 million, according to Global Trade Atlas data. In volume terms, the country’s vegetable exports were up 5.4% to 230,000 tons. The main source of this growth was onions, which surged 67% to €25 million in 2019, thanks to strong demand from Europe, where there was a lack of supply. Australia’s largest fresh vegetable export in volume terms is carrots, accounting for 34% of all shipments. Australia also exports large volumes of potatoes, celery, broccoli and cauliflower.
The largest market for Australian fresh vegetables is Singapore, followed by the UAE, Japan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, which together received about 53% of total vegetable exports. The Ausveg body is working to help the country’s growers develop the skills and capacity to enter export markets for vegetables through the Vegetable Industry Export Programme, in partnership with Hort Innovation. In a move which should further boost exports, Australia has recently signed a free trade agreement with Indonesia.
Asia Fruit Logistica 2020 will take place on 16-18 September at Singapore EXPO, a world-class exhibition centre near Singapore’s Changi Airport, with AsiaFruit Congress held on 15 September at the convention wing MAX Atria.
Organiser Global Produce Events (GPE) is relocating the 2020 edition as a precaution due to the continued uncertainty in Hong Kong. GPE has chosen Singapore as the location for the next edition of the show, because Singapore is a key business and trading hub in Asia, offering global connectivity, business efficiency, and access for fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world.
Following the Singapore edition in 2020, GPE will review market conditions and evaluate the response to the Asia Fruit Logistica, before making their decision on the location for future editions.
More than 12,000 high-quality trade professionals from 70+ countries around the world made the most of the opportunities to meet and do business with over 800 exhibitors from more than 40 different countries at Asia Fruit Logistica 2019, which took place on 4-6 September in Hong Kong.
There is strong demand for fresh products in Singapore, a country where the fresh fruit and vegetables market is estimated to have been worth about $1 billion last year.
“Even busy professionals who cannot make treks to the markets frequently will buy fresh produce and freeze it themselves to consume later. Therefore, significant opportunity exists for firms to sell food items that are both fresh and ready-made or easy to prepare.”
That’s among the advice in a case study in the 2016 Cold Chain Top Markets Report by the International Trade Administration, part of the US Department of Commerce.
Due to land constraints, as much as 90% of Singapore’s food must be imported, it says.
“Recent trends have shown Singaporean retailers sourcing more agriculture products beyond the region to meet the 5.5 percent annual increase demand of the local markets. Products range from generic to high-end organic foods.”
Among other interesting details:
- Singapore’s retail food sector is among the most advanced in the world.
- The mature nature of its mass grocery retail sector means retailers must be highly innovative to remain competitive.
- Singapore has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, presenting a high level of consumer purchasing power.
- Catering to consumer preferences, rather than competing on price alone, presents an opportunity for exporters.
- Singaporean customers often value the ease of shopping in convenience stores or online.
- Rising obesity rates have created demand for healthy processed foods.
- Wet markets still represent a major point of sale for fresh grocery products.
- Many businesses use Singapore as a distribution center and a showcase for concepts to wider Asia.
- E-commerce and direct-to-consumer deliveries of temperature-sensitive products can expect to find excellent opportunities in this market.
- The growth of online shopping for food and groceries should increase demand for refrigerated deliveries and warehouses.
- Singapore has a highly developed and sophisticated cold chain distribution system.
- It is becoming a hub for perishable products moving from one part of the world to another.
- At Coolport@Changi, a $16 million 8,000 m2 building is the transit point for 90% of the perishable goods passing through the airport.
- Singaporeans pride themselves on living in a ‘foodie’ country.
Source: TOP MARKETS SERIES: COLD SUPPLY CHAIN (U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration | Industry & Analysis)
Photo of Singapore: Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain licence by Jason Goh (cegoh)