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F&B players get insights on how to innovate

Mee rebus (above) made with low glycaemic index noodles.

The noodles went through a laboratory-based test developed at the FIRC (above) which helps speed up the development of healthier food products, among other innovations.


SMEs in the food and beverage sector keen to learn how to innovate can look forward to an Oct 1 event at the Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

The event, organised by The Business Times in collaboration with The Future Economy Council, will showcase ways the FIRC can help SMEs in their quest for better products, more efficient processes and product acceptance to grow their business.

Launched in 2007, the FIRC has eight labs and provides four main services: consultancy, training, lab testing and the leasing of equipment.

Consultancy refers to professional services from fulltime professionals with expertise in food science and technology, nutrition, automation and more to help solve specific product or process challenges faced.

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SMEs can gain a business edge by working with the FIRC on specific issues related to their products and process development, including packaging and shelf life extension, sensory and consumer studies, and smart automation.

For example, in learning how to extend the shelf life of their products, SMEs are better placed to explore opportunities to sell these products overseas.

The FIRC also has dedicated training facilities offering generic, certified and customised training courses including those for food safety, food hygiene and packaging technology.

The centre can assist with conducting pilot trials and has an extensive range of equipment for lease which can be used to manufacture products for test marketing purposes.

So far, the FIRC has completed more than 1,500 consultancy projects and technical services, trained over 5,000 adult learners, and worked with more than 700 food establishments achieving a commendable commercialisation rate of 38 per cent.

Asked about the costs related when collaborating with FIRC, Koh Kok Sin, centre director of FIRC, said: "The charges of each project vary depending on the type of services needed, and are based on cost recovery of the expected man-hours and materials that will be spent on the project."

Kelly Koh, manager at All The Batter, which touts itself as "Singapore's first avocado-themed cafe", said: "It would be indeed useful to find out how the Food Innovation & Resource Centre can help to improve our business. We would be interested to find out how to extend the shelf life of our fresh foods made without preservatives."

The Oct 1 event, which includes a tour of the facilities, is being held at Level 5 of Singapore Polytechnic's Block T11B at 500 Dover Road from 3 to 5.30 pm. (see amendment note)

Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry, will be engaging participants in a dialogue to discuss key areas of concern in the food and beverage businesses.

Participants will hear firsthand accounts from F&B business owners who have worked with the FIRC, and learn how the collaboration has helped to fuel growth for their business.

Amendment note: An earlier version of the story said the venue was to be at Singapore Polytechnic's T11C . It should be Singapore Polytechnic's T11B.

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