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Solving F&B firms' problems since 2007

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The FIRC was launched by Enterprise Singapore (then Spring Singapore) and Singapore Polytechnic to lend F&B firms technical expertise in product and process development.

SINCE launching in 2007, the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic has quietly helped over 700 F&B players, from product development to food analysis, to innovate and get ahead.

It has worked on more than 1,500 projects, of which 38 per cent have hit the shelves or were adopted by companies, like Irvin's Salted Egg and You Tiao Man.

The FIRC was launched by Enterprise Singapore (then Spring Singapore) and Singapore Polytechnic to lend F&B firms technical expertise in product and process development.

Today, the centre has about 33 full-time professionals, including food technologists and chefs, and over 100 pieces of equipment. It offers four main services: consultancy, training, lab testing and equipment leasing.

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Typically, food companies have asked for help with extending shelf life, commercialising products and transforming food ingredients, said the centre's director, Koh Kok Sin.

For example, one firm wanted to automate the cooking of chicken rice so as to take it overseas. They managed to do so, aided by the centre's engineers.

The FIRC has also helped companies create novelty products out of innocuous food ingredients - flavoured sugar sticks for a sugar company that wanted to enter the consumer market, for instance.

For firms hoping to test waters before launching products, sensory and consumer studies are also conducted at the centre.

"Why do we go through all these things? It's to lower your risk so that you launch a successful product," said Mr Koh.

"Our aim is the same as you. We want you to be successful, more productive, more innovative."

And as food trends evolve, the FIRC keeps up. It works with Enterprise Singapore to acquire new technology, such as high pressure processing equipment, which companies can also rent to use.