Seizing the Singaporean export opportunity

Singapore imports nearly 90% of its food, making it a massive market opportunity for Australian food and beverage businesses looking to export. Rod Arenas, General Manager of Commercial for Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), explains how businesses can ensure they are tapping into this potential.

The export opportunity Singapore represents stems from it being home to an extremely sophisticated consumer class, one that continues to demand an ever-broadening range of food and beverage products. Singapore is looked to within Southeast Asia as being the benchmark for trends and quality, increasingly so as the broader region continues to grow economically. This, combined with improved logistics throughout the region, has seen Singapore become a major trading and distribution hub for food and beverage products. In fact, between 20 to 25% of all imported food is re-exported across the region.

Currently, Australia exports AU$1.2 billion worth of food and beverage products to Singapore each year. While this is certainly sizeable, Arenas believes this figure is not what it could be. Particularly when you consider the number of competitive advantages Australian food and beverage products enjoy. These include a proximity and natural affinity with the region, as well as a strong reputation for having ‘clean and green’ products due to high food safety standards.

“Singapore is a massive market opportunity for Australian food and beverage companies. Yet, many businesses are not capitalising on it,” said Arenas. “This is something we are actively working on with industry to change.”

Have an export plan

FIAL is an industry-led, not-for-profit that grows the share of Australian food in the global marketplace by supporting businesses to enter into new export markets.

“We’ve found that many businesses are very daunted by the prospect of exporting, not knowing where to start,” said Arenas. “This is where we recommend coming along to one of our export readiness workshops.”

Held all around the country, the FIAL export readiness workshops have been designed to help Australian food and agribusinesses build a world-class export plan. Businesses benefit directly from in-market representatives, buyers, lawyers, and Australian food businesses already successfully exporting to the region. Award-winning health food manufacturer, Morlife, credits these workshops as being central to the start of its export journey.

“I was new in the export role at Morlife and FIAL’s workshop was fantastic. By the end of it, I had already shaped an informed export plan. I still reflect on it today, years later,” said Morlife Export and Business Development Manager, Cheryl Stewart.

Make connections

Once an export plan has been developed, getting their products in front of buyers is the next big hurdle for businesses. This is where Austrade recommends attending an international tradeshow as an invaluable starting point. Held biennially, Singapore hosts the region’s most important tradeshow, FHA-Food & Beverage.

Occurring at the end of March, FIAL will yet again be taking a team of Australian delegates to FHA-Food & Beverage 2020. These food and beverage businesses will benefit from showcasing their products on the ‘Australia’ stand. FIAL is unique in the full suite of services it provides to ensure those businesses joining it at tradeshows get the most value out of the trip. All freight and customs requirements are managed, and businesses receive market intelligence and introductions to key buyers during the complimentary Market Insights and Retail Tour. Many Australian food and agribusinesses have successfully negotiated and secured their first orders into Singapore as a result of attending FHA-Food & Beverage with FIAL.

Arenas encourages food producers and manufacturers to draw upon the support provided by FIAL to seize the Singaporean export opportunity.

FHA Singapore registrations have been extended until 20 January 2020, register here.

For more information, visit

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