SINGAPORE, 2 November 2011 – The Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) this afternoon unveiled its new $7-million premises at an Opening Ceremony in Singapore Polytechnic (SP). The new Centre has a combined floor area of 1,500 m2 and comes with an all-new pilot plant with state-of-the-art processing and packaging equipment that allows local food enterprises to test their products on a smaller scale before scaling-up for commercial production.
Launched in 2007 as a joint initiative between SPRING Singapore and SP, FIRC is the first Centre of Innovation in Singapore that is set up to cater to the needs of local food enterprises. FIRC has engaged over 260 companies and overseen more than 250 consultancy projects to date, and the Centre’s new facilities will enable it to further help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) grow their businesses by harnessing the technologies available to create value-added products and services in order for them to compete more effectively in the global market.
FIRC’s new facility is divided into four main sections: a Cook Studio with Consumer Suite, a Pilot Plant with Pack Studio for developmental work in meats, ready-to-eat meals, sauces and beverages; and a Mix & Bake section that focuses on Asian Specialty Sweets and Bakery Products. Helmed by a dedicated team of full-time experienced professionals, FIRC will be able to provide the expertise in developing new and innovative food products, processes and packaging to help local food companies keep pace with the ever-evolving needs of present day consumers.
Mr Tan Hang Cheong, SP Principal, said, “The increasing sophistication and competitive pressures in the food and beverage market means that FIRC needs to evolve in order to continue its support for the industry. The Centre’s new facilities at SP will allow us to provide further value-added activities to meet these increasingly challenging requirements and to better serve our clients. We are confident that businesses who come to FIRC will now be able to bring their food concepts to reality through an end-to-end range of services provided by the Centre.”
As part of the event launch this afternoon, guests and industry partners of FIRC were treated to a guided tour of the centre’s new facilities where they witnessed the developmental journey of a food product from its conception in the test kitchen to the final stages of production in the pilot facilities. A series of new products that are due to hit the shelves next year from clients that include Ellaziq Pte Ltd, Buckwheat Healthcare Pte Ltd and SCORE bakery were also showcased, with FIRC pledging to continue in their work as the contact point for a network of food-related expertise across both private and public sectors locally and abroad.
"In this age of fast-changing consumer tastes and lifestyles, our local food companies need to continually reinforce their competitive edge through product innovation and packaging. With the new facility, FIRC will be an invaluable industry resource for new product development, process innovation and packaging. I strongly encourage all food companies to leverage FIRC’s expertise and services. Companies can also tap on SPRING’s programmes for funding support in developing new innovative products,” said Mr Ted Tan, Deputy Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore.
Some of the products developed by FIRC to date include the ready-to-drink Singapore Sling alcoholic beverage, frozen mousse cakes from The Patissier’s, and freeze-thaw stable crispy pizza which is sold at LENAS restaurant among others.
Companies interested to create and develop innovative food products can apply for support through SPRING’s Innovation Voucher Scheme and Technology Innovation Programme.
About Singapore Polytechnic (www.sp.edu.sg)
Established in 1954 to meet the manpower needs identified by the government, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first polytechnic. Its 10 academic schools offer 49 full-time diploma courses for its 15,500students and courses are kept relevant through close links with industry and government bodies, as well as with various overseas institutions.
SP offers broad-based, multi-disciplinary and flexible curriculum dedicated to hands-on experience. It is committed to the development of its applied research and development capabilities to enhance the quality of teaching and commercialisation efforts. Through Design Thinking, SP offers a revolutionary approach to education, allowing its students to look at problems from different perspectives, and strike a dynamic balance between intuitive and analytical thinking to provide impactful solutions.
Among SP's 160,000 graduates are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multinational and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals, many of whom are captains of industries, university professors and researchers, and leaders in government. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/singaporepolytechnic or Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/SingaporePoly
About Food Innovation & Resource Centre
Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic is established to provide food enterprises with technical expertise in new product and process development including packaging, shelf life evaluation and producing prototypes for market testing. Our dedicated pilot plant, application laboratories, test kitchen and sensory suite are helmed by a core team of experienced food professionals who work with clients to develop exciting new variants, solve manufacturing issues and adopt new practices for an increasingly sophisticated food and beverage market.