24 April 2018

Enterprise Singapore supports F&B, food manufacturers with new digital initiatives

RESTAURANT 3.0 showcases new technologies that restaurants can use to better themselves.

Enterprise Singapore has introduced new digital initiatives at Food&HotelAsia (FHA) 2018 to support Singapore food and beverage (F&B) and food manufacturing companies in capturing new overseas opportunities and improve operational efficiencies.

The digital initiatives launched include a B2B online platform for food manufacturers and the RESTAURANT 3.0 showcase for F&B companies.

Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) launched the SMF SMART App at the Singapore Pavilion at FHA, to make it easier, faster and more convenient for food manufacturers to export overseas. The B2B online platform, developed by Singapore technology company iSprint Innovations, facilitates consolidation of online orders for overseas buyers and provides features such as traceability and authentication of products.

Visitors at the show can use this smart app to scan barcodes of physical products at FHA to view more product details. They can also perform checkout via the smart app. Other features include:

 Access to the SMF Digital Marketplace* on the app

 Automatic checks on quantities of product/s required to fill each shipping container through the shipping cubic meter calculation function

 Authentication of Singapore products with a track and trace function via the use of QR codes and IT security technology

 Reduced paperwork for food manufacturers with an online procurement process

In addition, Enterprise Singapore and SMF have extended the reach of the Singapore Pavilion beyond the physical limits of FHA by bringing it onto Alibaba.com. This allows buyers to browse the Singapore products and indicate business interest.

Sunny Koh, Deputy President of SMF and Chairman of the F&B Industry Group, said, “Today’s launch of the digital initiatives enhances the effectiveness of our WIP programme**. They will further benefit our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in reaching out to users overseas including Southeast Asia. The track and trace function of the SMF SMART App also helps prevent counterfeit of goods. It is definitely a win-win situation for all sellers and buyers locally and globally, and the overall promotion of an authentic and quality Singapore brand.”

There are currently 103 Singapore companies with 871 products on board the SMF SMART App and SMF Alibaba.com platforms. SMF is working to bring in more food manufacturers on board and exploring the feasibility of extending the digital initiatives to other industries.

Kee Ai Nah, Executive Director of Lifestyle & Consumer Cluster, Enterprise Singapore, said, “Enterprise Singapore’s partnership with SMF enables Singapore SMEs to capture more overseas opportunities by making the buyer’s procurement process easier through the use of technology. SMF has been proactive and forward-looking in driving tech adoption; we hope to work with other trade associations and chambers (TACs) to implement such digital initiatives to benefit our SMEs collectively.”

The digital initiatives are supported through Enterprise Singapore’s Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) programme. The Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) Programme aims to enhance industry and enterprise competitiveness. Through partnerships with industry associations that are willing to take the lead in industry development and drive initiatives to improve the overall capabilities of SMEs in their industries, LEAD provides focused and customised support at the industry level.

With over 160,000 workers, the food services industry is a sizeable employer contributing 5% of total employment in Singapore. Technology could help companies in the industry improve workflow, enhance the working environment for staff and retain employees with the right skills and aptitude. As of end-2017, more than a third of food outlets in Singapore are already adopting technology such as digital services and kitchen automation, organisers said.

A robotic platform programmed to serve coconut ice cream.
A robotic platform programmed to
serve coconut ice cream.
RESTAURANT 3.0 at FHA 2018 displays new technologies that F&B companies can adopt. It presents how digital, robotics and technology-enabled modular systems can improve the overall supply chain of food services - from farm, processing and production (back-of-house) to service at the table (front-of-house). The showcase is a multiparty collaboration by Enterprise Singapore, Workforce Singapore, Singapore Productivity Centre and Restaurant Association of Singapore.

Back-of-house exhibits included:

- An urban farming solution to grow their own vegetables and herbs in a controlled environment in response to customers’ increased preference for fresh ingredients and healthier food.

An urban farming solution.
An urban farming solution.
- Outsourcing of food preparation to larger and better-equipped central kitchens, operated by food manufacturers.

- The ready meals model, where a central kitchen produces the food, and kitchen assistants need only heat it up, plate and serve. This reduces manpower and enables the creation of new distribution channels, such as supermarkets and e-commerce, without having to open additional outlets.

- Bite-sized automation in kitchens, such as for inventory management (receiving, storage, drawing of stocks), food preparation, dishwashing and food preparation

- Robotics

A preprogrammed robotic arm can grill beef, picking up the raw meat from the chiller, cooking it on the griddle, plating the steak and placing it at service point, all at the touch of a button.

Front-of-house exhibits included:

- Food vaults, where meals can be ordered from anywhere through a mobile phone app or web-based platform, and then picked up at the allocated vault, similar to a post office box.

- RFID vending machines, which are totally automated, open 24x7 and can deliver a meal in under three minutes from ordering. The first Vendcaf√© , launched in 2016, has 90% less manpower than an eatery offering a similar menu and seating space.

- Robotics

A fully automated robotic platform can fulfil an order of serving ice cream inside a coconut shell, or make coffee.

Ready meals can be ordered, reheated, and then placed into vaults for collection.
Ready meals can be ordered, reheated, and then placed into vaults for collection.


Watch the Instavideo where Makko the robot chef shows how it handles fries

Hashtag: #FHA2018

*Details of Singapore products will be listed on the SMF Digital Marketplace for buyers to view. 

**The WIP programme is a partnership between Enterprise Singapore and SMF to enable different Singapore food products to be consolidated in containers and exported to overseas retailers/importers through direct shipment.