Giving the local food industry a boost, Singapore Polytechnic partnered SPRING Singapore to launch the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) recently.
Food companies with plans to expand their markets can now develop new ideas or enhance the appeal of their existing products with the help of Singapore Poly's new Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC). The one-stop consultancy centre aims to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) create and test new products, from concept right up to market testing.
To achieve its objectives, FIRC will invest some $7 million in state-of-the-art food processing and development equipment over the next three years. Operational since April 2007, the centre is at present making use of the existing food facilities and temporary set-ups on campus. Plans are underway for a new permanent facility, which is expected to be ready by 2009. It will house a full suite of pilot plants with state-of-the-art processing and packaging equipment, a food product innovation laboratory and a market intelligence unit.
It is the first Centre of Innovation to be launched under SPRING Singapore''s $150 million Technology Innovation Programme (TIP), which encourages SMEs to grow their businesses by adopting technology to create high value products and services and compete effectively in the global market.
The launch of FIRC marked a very important milestone in the development of the Polytechnic's food technology training programme, said Principal Mr Low Wong Fook. "Since the inception of our food technology course some 30 years ago, we have been providing quality training to meet the manpower needs of the industry. Today, with the setting up of this centre, we can now play an even bigger and pivotal role in helping to establish Singapore as a strategic Food Hub."
Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Lee Yi Shyan officiated the launch the centre on 29 May 2007. In his speech, the guest of honour noted that Singapore Polytechnic has a well-established food technology programme and a good track record for consultancy services to local enterprises.
"I understand that the Polytechnic has helped develop first-in-the-market products such as low-sodium, low fat Chinese sausages and microwavable Asian ready-meals. With the Singapore Polytechnic's assistance, the companies only took nine months to translate their ideas into actual products on the market," Mr Lee noted. "SMEs can look forward to working with the FIRC to come up with more innovations like these and bring them to the market quickly."
He added: "With good industry support, we anticipate that some 275 projects will be completed in the first five years, generating a total value of $115 million."