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IE Singapore, SMF tie up to get local food manufacturers in S-E Asian supermarkets

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International Enterprise (IE) Singapore has partnered the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) to help local food manufacturers sell their products at supermarket chains in South-east Asia.

INTERNATIONAL Enterprise (IE) Singapore has partnered the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) to help local food manufacturers sell their products at supermarket chains in South-east Asia.

Due to high entry costs and the difficulty encountered in products' registration, local food products generally aren't easily found in supermarkets in Asia. This could change thanks to the tie-up between IE Singapore and SMF under the Working In Partnership (WIP) programme. This comes as the emerging middle class in South-east Asia is also creating more demand for variety and quality products.

"On their own, Singapore food manufacturers lack networks and financial resources to promote their products. WIP overcomes this through economies of scale, cost savings, as well as fast-tracking their entry into the markets," IE Singapore and SMF said in a joint release.

IE Singapore and SMF will identify supermarkets to partner with, negotiate for optimal product listing fees followed by promotional activities such as in-store sampling and a food fair. The SMF appoints an anchor partner to consolidate food products from different companies and ships them directly to the supermarkets in a shared container.

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SMF deputy president Sunny Koh said: "With the WIP programme, we eliminate importers/distributors in the procurement chain, thus reducing overall cost. The extra margins are returned to the companies, thus improving their retail price and benefiting the consumers. With increasing competition from e-commerce, being able to narrow the price gap between the physical retail shop and e-shop is crucial for success overseas."

There are now two participating supermarkets in South-east Asia - Central Food Group in Thailand and City Mart in Myanmar - while a partnership is forthcoming with Rustans in the Philippines. A fourth partner is expected by end-2016.

Tan Li Lin, group director (customer services), IE Singapore, said: "The coming together of Singapore food manufacturers under the WIP programme allows for collective Singapore branding. This helps to drive sales for our companies. We will be applying this concept to other Southeast Asia markets and Asia, as well as expanding beyond the food sector to benefit more SMEs."

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