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US Dairy Export Council and FIRC join forces with Singapore Innovation Partnership


From left: Zen Tan, FIRC Business Development Manager; Martin Teo, USDEC Food Applications Technical Director; Ngan-Loong Mann Na, FIRC Centre Director; Vikki Nicholson-West, USDEC Business Unit Director for Southeast Asia; and Dali Ghazalay, USDEC Regional Director for Southeast Asia.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic signed a partnership agreement in May 2018 that furthers U.S. dairy’s commitment to food innovation to meet the needs of Southeast Asian customers and consumers.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lays out a framework under which USDEC and U.S. dairy suppliers will work together with FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge, develop innovative food products for the Southeast Asian market, and provide consumers in the region with more options suited to their specific tastes.

“Singapore is a hotbed of food innovation and the gateway to Southeast Asia,” said Tom Vilsack, USDEC President and CEO. “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 U.S. dairy technology and expertise.”

Martin Teo (left), USDEC Food Applications Technical Director, leads a 11-12 May 2018 U.S. permeate bakery innovation workshop at Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC). Senior food R&D leaders from food companies in Singapore and Malaysia participated.

“This partnership allows U.S. 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, Food Applications Technical Director, with USDEC’s Singapore office.

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

The expanding U.S. dairy product portfolio stems from investments in research and development along supply chain – from farm families to milk processors to cheese and ingredient manufacturers. The US’ commitment to delivering a sustainably produced milk supply can satisfy the South East Asian region’s growing appetite for dairy.


HPP Tolling Centre Launch

Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation & Resource Centre (FIRC) together with Enterprise Singapore and Warehouse Logistics Net Asia (WLNA), have jointly set up a High Pressure Processing (HPP) Resource Sharing Facility to provide food companies with access to advanced food processing technology without having to acquire expensive machinery.

The HPP equipment owned by FIRC and leased to WLNA, allows companies to improve their capabilities in developing healthier and quality food products with extended shelf life, which opens up opportunities in global exports. This strong public-private effort is the first in the pipeline of shared facilities that are slated to be rolled out for the food industry over the next three years in line with the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map.

HPP is a cold / non-thermal pasteurisation process that is relatively new to Singapore food companies. It applies ultra-high pressure of up to 600 MPa to disrupt cellular activity and thus kill food-borne pathogens in packaged chilled products instead of heat or chemicals to food. The HPP technology is able to retain fresh product characteristics, sensorial and nutritional qualities while extending shelf-life by two to four times.

As a Centre of Innovation, FIRC plays a pivotal role in engaging food companies with knowledge sharing, and facilitating the adoption of HPP as part of the food manufacturing value chain. FIRC provides consultancy services and offers technical expertise to food companies, including assistance to integrate HPP to their production, conducting post HPP shelf-life evaluation study based on food safety and quality attributes, and troubleshooting technical issues which may arise in products that have undergone HPP. Apart from HPP, FIRC also provides technical expertise to facilitate product conceptualisation to commercialisation, including packaging and sensory evaluation.

ADDING LIFE TO YEARS: Beverage Solutions for Silver Agers

On 13 April 2018, FIRC conducted a half day workshop on ADDING LIFE TO YEARS: Beverage Solutions for Silver Agers. With the rapid increase of people aged 65 and above in Singapore and by 2030, the number of Singaporeans aged 65 and above is projected to double to 900,000. That means 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be in that age group, up from 1 in 8 today. There are significant opportunities for the food industry to look into the older demographic population for product insights and to develop products to meet their nutritional needs.

The subject matter experts and key opinion leaders from FIRC, BASF, Mintel and Tetra Pak shared their findings and analyses on how functional foods can play a role in optimizing health for silver age consumers. Through the workshop, the participants gained insights on food and beverage trends, the nutritional needs of silver age group and get hands-on experience in overcoming challenges for beverage application.

FIRC celebrates its 10th Anniversary

On 24th October 2017, FIRC celebrated its 10th anniversary which was graced by Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth and Trade & Industry. More than 450 guests comprising industry stakeholders from food manufacturing, food services, government agencies, trade associations and industry partners attended the event.

The event witnessed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony between FIRC and ICMG, a Japanese company providing intellectual capital management services to companies.  Under the MoU, both parties will promote collaborations between Singapore and Japanese companies in the area of food science and technology, and develop mutually beneficial programmes to facilitate the exchange of technical expertise and knowledge. We will also establish a Food Innovation Platform for companies from the two countries to ideate, create new business models, conduct proof of concept and strive towards business acceleration and commercialisation in food innovation, packaging and automation for the local food industry. To mark the start of this collaboration, Nippon Closure Company Limited (NCC), through ICMG, will be housing Japanese capping machines in the FIRC to support the needs of the local food industry and will offer a wider range of packaging choices for their products.


Healthier Noodles for Diabetics in the Works

The collaboration between Health Promotion Board (HPB) and FIRC on developing “diabetic-friendly” healthier noodles was announced during a tasting session held at FIRC on 25 September 2017 with local noodle manufacturers.

Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin were present to sample the noodles at the event.

FIRC has developed two prototypes with a lower glycemic index (GI), which are wholegrain yellow noodles with beta-glucan and rice noodles with resistant starch. The prototypes will continue to be tested in trials and will be completed by the end of the year. The centre aims to work with interested manufacturers to commercialise these products to benefit Singaporeans. Read more

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