As you probably know, earlier this year the Bolst Global team was in Singapore at the FHA (Food & Hotel Asia) trade show working on behalf of our clients and what a week we have had! Tired from the hive of activity that we have undertaken (trade shows are always quite gruelling) but nevertheless it’s been another great and insightful week and one which we wanted to share with anyone interested in entering this market.
So here are our takeaways from Singapore:
#1: A good place for doing business especially in the food and drink sector
Singapore has been ranked by World Bank as the best country in the world for doing business for ten consecutive years as of 2016. Moreover, Singapore ranks as the third wealthiest country based on per capita GDP. All this is doubtless good indicators that prove that you have to consider Singapore as a fantastic place to export your food and drink products!
Singaporean consumers feel more and more concerned with adopting healthy cooking and clean eating habits, thus it is having an impact on packaged food. It is important to notice that the government has intensified its efforts to promote healthy consumption and living. Furthermore, consumers are more informed about what they eat, expressing an increasing interest in knowing what they are consuming. Consequently, Singaporeans are starting to opt for products with reduced fat and sugar. The government seems to be really determined to eradicate bad eating habits, that is why for example in 2016, they launched the “War On Diabetes” campaign, followed by other campaigns such as “Get Healthy, Get More From Life” or “Drink Healthy, Get More From Life”.
The government is not the only one actor in this fight, indeed, manufacturers are offering more and more products promoting health due to the increasing demand for healthier options within packaged food and beverages. It is now common to see products made of whole grains, as well as products containing less sugar. They largely contribute to encourage consumers to purchase healthier products. Also, as an initiative of the Singapore Health Promotion Board, healthier packaged food products are now more identifiables thanks to the Healthier Choice Symbol present on it.
#2: Overview of the retail landscape
In Singapore, you can find 4 major groups of food retailers : large retailers, convenience stores, petrol stations and traditional stores.
The key retail channels in Singapore are supermarket chains and hypermarkets such as Redmart or Cold Storage. There are 3 major groups that operate these channels: The Dairy Farm Group, FairPrice Group and Sheng Siong.
FairPrice Group, owned by NTUC Group, is the largest retailer, serving over half a million shoppers daily and with over 170 outlets in its group including FairePrice supermarkets, FairPrice Finest as you can see on the picture (20 of their premium outlets), but also FairPrice Xtra.
As for the Dairy Farm Group, they can claim to be the largest supermarket chain in when it comes to retail outlets with 123 stores. What is interesting with the Dairy Farm Group is that they focus on segments from high income consumers as well as discounts stores with their different store formats.
They have for example within their retail portfolio the Cold Storage Supermarket stores (pictured above) which are more dedicated to the middle to upper income group, but they also own Jason’s The Gourmet Grocer Specialty stores which are exclusively committed to respond to the needs of the well off and give a more gourmet offering.
Finally, if we want to have a look at the convenience stores and other small format stores, you can mostly find many 7-Eleven stores throughout Singapore as well as Cheers, Choices, or also Start Mart.
As part of our visit we also visited the “Global Halal Hub” an international chain of exclusively halal supermarkets which was very interesting! And actually they serve many food service customers as well as normal consumer with their 20 000+ SKU’s and overall over 60% of revenues come from their frozen product offering.
Here is a photo taken with the Chairman Ronnie (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronnie-faizal-tan-82241890/) who kindly gave our Founder Victoria a personal guided tour of the oldest outlet in Singapore!
#3: Routes to the market and key trends
Entering the Singaporean market require, as for any foreign market, to understand how it works, see if the products could fit with the local taste and analyse the competition. Once you have done that, what you have to think about is the distribution channel. Indeed, you can choose either to export directly to some of the retailers such as Cold Storage – work with a British-based consolidator supplying the retailers directly – or use a local distributor that sells into the supermarkets, convenience stores, or small independent groceries stores. This depends on whether you yourself can service the demands of the retailers directly and the kind of presence you wish to have in the market.
Some of the distributors in Singapore who already promote and sell UK brands that you may wish to consider for your products include:
Amoy Canning Corporation Limited: this is a Singapore-based company which also operates in Malaysia and which work closely with regional chefs. They import and export authentic Asian dishes along with snacks. Click here to know more about them: http://www.amocan.com/
Angliss Singapore: the company is well-known for its temperature-controlled halal and non-halal food products. Their business is linked with food service, distribution, retail, and marine food services. If you want to see more details, click here: http://www.angliss.com.sg/
Gan Teck Kar Investments: the company aims at providing a premium quality and great tasting products to their customers. Their Distribution network consists of Retail Customers such as supermarket chains, specialty grocers, convenience stores and pharmacies as well as Foodservice Customers such as hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes, ships and airlines. Click right here to understand more what they do: http://www.gtk.com.sg/
Gain Brands international: the company is based in Singapore but has branches in the UK, Hong Kong, China, Denmark and Indonesia. They represent many premium brands and are well-known for importing and exporting alcoholic beverages from the UK. See more on their website: https://gainbrands.com/
Monde Nissin Singapore Pte Ltd: this is a Philippine-based company that manufactures noodles, biscuits, packaged baked goods, and culinary aids under the brands Lucky Me!, Nissin, Voice, Bingo, and Monde. Moreover, they acquired Quorn Foods, a UK meat alternatives business brand. See more details by clicking right here: https://www.mondenissin.com/
Xi Yan Pte Ltd: The company was established in 2005 and recently developed Xi Yan Gourmet Direct as a new business extension that aspire to bring international food products from the UK. Here is the link of their website: https://www.xiyan.com.sg/sg/
#4: FHA show 2020- one to consider?
The FHA 2018 in figures: 119,500 sqm of exhibition area, 78,000 trade attendees from 100 countries, 4,000 exhibitors from around 70 countries, and 71 group pavillions. As you can imagine, this is full of opportunities. Around 70% of the visitors are from South East Asia, so if you want to target countries such us Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, this is your show!
A trade show is always something very interesting and helpful for our clients as it’s a great meeting point and give you the ability to meet lots of people in a short space of time and often from several markets! You can also use it as a great place to do some fact finding and one of the key objectives we had at Bolst Global at this show was to understand even further the halal implications and importance for the ASEAN region. You can take a look at our videos on ‘how to make the most of an international trade show’ here, or you can download our e-guide on trade shows that you can find on this page here.
FHA is not as big a show as say Gulfood in Dubai for example, however, it is a way for us to still find new opportunities for new markets and it is certainly a case of quality over quantity with now developing contacts and conversations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Hong Kong.
So could it be a show for you to consider in 2020?
If you would like any advice or support on this then please get in touch with us.
Overall though we had a fantastic time in Singapore and are looking forward to developing the business for our brands in this market and part of the world in the future!
If you’d like to know more about our services and how we could help your brand to grow overseas then please get in touch!