New partnership to drive US dairy further into SE Asian market

14:36 SGT June 8, 2018
The MoU between the USDEC and FIRC at Singapore Polytechnic will pave the way for further innovation in South-east Asian foods and beverages with US dairy ingredients. From left: Zen Tan, FIRC’s business development manager; Martin Teo, USDEC’s food applications technical director; Loong Mann Na, FIRC’s centre director; Vikki Nicholson-West, USDEC’s business unit director for South-east Asia; and Dali Ghazalay, USDEC’s regional director for South-east Asia

The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic recently signed a partnership agreement to further US dairy’s commitment to food innovation to meet the needs of South-east Asian customers and consumers. According to USDEC, South-east Asia is the second largest market for US dairy exports globally and the largest outside of North America. This market is valued at US$690 million.

“Singapore is a hotbed of food innovation and the gateway to South-east Asia,” said USDEC president and CEO Tom Vilsack. “FIRC’s team of food technologists, packaging specialists and engineers is at the forefront of establishing Singapore as a strategic food hub. We are very excited to be working with this innovative group and look forward to sharing US dairy technology and expertise.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lays out a framework under which USDEC and US dairy suppliers will work together with FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge, develop innovative food products for the South-east Asian market, and provide consumers in the region with more options suited to their specific tastes. USDEC adds that the agreement comes at an opportune time in addressing the region’s double burden of malnutrition, where dairy can support nutritional solutions for better health and wellness outcomes.

“One of FIRC’s objectives is to leverage science and technology to develop food innovations and capture new markets,” said Loong Mann Na, centre director, FIRC. “We expect the dairy knowledge and spirit of innovation brought by USDEC and its members will advance progress towards that goal.”

FIRC, a joint venture between Singapore Polytechnic and Enterprise Singapore, a statutory board under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, was formed to provide food companies with technical expertise in new product and process development.

The growing US dairy product portfolio stems from investments in research and innovation all along the dedicated supply chain — from farm families to milk processors to cheese and ingredient manufacturers. “

This partnership allows US dairy suppliers to be at the forefront of the product development process, become more customer-centric and enhance their level of service,” said Martin Teo, Singapore-based food applications technical director, USDEC.

Teo will serve as the key contact between US dairy suppliers and FIRC.