22
April
2022
|
12:00
Asia/Singapore

SIT, Enterprise SG and JTC Jointly Launch FoodPlant to Advance Food Innovation in Local Industry through Small-Batch Production and R&D

The S$13 million facility will bolster Singapore’s food innovation scene.

The S$13 million facility will bolster Singapore’s food innovation scene.

foodplant_team1920x1080

The team at FoodPlant include (from left): Ms Serene Teo (Technical Specialist), Ms Fiona Lee (Deputy Head), Mr Ong Wai Peng (Project Executive), Dr Lim Bee Gim (CEO), Mr Caleb Neo (Intern), Ms Angela Goh (Project Executive), Mr Vincent Koh (Technical Officer) and Mr Lim Eu Chin (Senior Technical Specialist). (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Enterprise Singapore (Enterprise SG) and JTC jointly launched FoodPlant, Singapore’s first shared facility for small-batch food production that is licensed by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). Located in JTC Food Hub @ Senoko, the facility’s opening was officiated by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

A key FoodInnovate[1] initiative, FoodPlant provides affordable access to a wide range of pilot scale equipment, research and development (R&D) consultancy services, and upskilling courses. These services aim to equip local companies with enhanced capabilities to develop new, innovative food products in response to evolving consumer preferences. FoodPlant is expected to benefit at least 200 food manufacturers and support the development of at least 400 new food products by 2026.

The 1,107 square metre facility boasts 12 rooms with specialised food production equipment, including:

  • a Twin-Screw Extruder which employs a High Moisture Extrusion Technology (HMET) to texturise plant-based protein into viable meat alternatives;
  • a Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) system for microbial inactivation, improved extraction, drying acceleration, amongst other advantages;
  • a Retort machine that provides commercial sterilisation of food to extend shelf life and storage under ambient condition by packing and heating food within flexible retort pouches or glass jars; and
  • a Spray Dryer with an integrated fluidised bed to enable creation of products such as milk powder, instant beverages and nutrient-dense food to address elderly needs.
foodplant_retort-spraydryer1920x1080

Companies will have access to specialised equipment such as the Retort machine (left) or the Spray Dryer (right) at FoodPlant. (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

The equipment aid companies to expand their product portfolios and penetrate new consumer segments. For example, companies may use the Twin-Screw Extruder to produce plant-based meat analogues. Additionally, companies looking to expand abroad can make use of the Retort or the Spray Dryer machines to extend product shelf life or change product formats to meet various requirements.

Food products manufactured in the facility can be sold commercially as they are produced in an SFA licenced facility. Companies will be able to trial new products in small batches and sell them to consumers to conduct market testing. This will allow them to take in feedback at an early stage in order to sharpen their product development process.

FoodPlant will also provide skills training for food technologists to strengthen the industry’s adoption of advanced food processing technologies. The industry can look forward to specialised upskilling courses such as ‘High Moisture Extrusion Technology (HMET) for Meat Analogues’, ‘Food and Feed Extrusion Technology’ and ‘Retort Processing’. The courses are led by local and foreign experts such as FoodPlant’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Lim Bee Gim, who is also an Associate Professor at SIT. Courses can also be tailored to companies’ specific needs.  

To boost collaborations among local food companies as well as cross-border partnerships, FoodPlant and SIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Foodbowl New Zealand[2] on 20 April 2022. The parties will work with each other to develop capabilities in food innovation and manufacturing across shared facilities through knowledge sharing and extension of industry networks.

FoodPlantEvent1920x1080

Guest-of-Honour Mr Heng Swee Keat (second from right), officiating the opening of FoodPlant with (from left) Dr Lim Bee Gim (CEO, FoodPlant), Mr Bill Chang (Chairman, SIT Board of Trustees, and CEO, Group Enterprise and Country Chief Officer Singapore, Singtel), and Professor Chua Kee Chaing (President, SIT). (SIT Photo: Keng Photography/Tan Eng Keng)

SIT President Professor Chua Kee Chaing shared: “FoodPlant is a key component in SIT’s sustainable food innovation programme which aims to help local companies grow and innovate through food technology. It is an enabling platform for companies to perform small-batch testing and production of innovative food products developed through R&D collaborations with SIT, other food R&D players or among themselves. Its affordable pay-per-use model lowers the barriers to market entry such as high upfront costs in setting up a manufacturing plant or being charged for minimum order quantities when accessing commercial food processing equipment. Through FoodPlant, SIT hopes to contribute to Singapore’s transformation as a food innovation hub.”

Mr Jeffrey Siow, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, Enterprise SG, said: “Many of our companies are developing new products like plant-based meat alternatives or cell-cultured proteins through FoodInnovate to meet growing consumer demand. FoodPlant provides these companies access to advanced food processing equipment, technologies and expertise, which in turn enables faster innovation and time to market.”

Mr Alvin Tan, Industry Cluster Group, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, JTC, said: “The opening of FoodPlant is a significant milestone in strengthening Singapore’s food manufacturing ecosystem. FoodPlant will not only plug the gaps that food innovators face today but also provide a platform for partnerships and capability development. I look forward to seeing more collaborations amongst food innovators and exciting new products launched.”

Ahead of today’s launch, FoodPlant has secured 17 membership sign-ups by companies and individuals who are keen to embark on or further their innovation journey. These companies include Agrocorp International, Dahmeh Pte Ltd and SGProtein. Companies can access FoodPlant’s facilities and consultancy services. Interested parties can visit https://www.foodplant.com.sg/ to find out more. 
 


 

[1] FoodInnovate was launched by Enterprise Singapore in 2018, together with Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Economic Development Board, Innovation Partner for Impact, JTC Corporation and the then-Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to grow Singapore’s food manufacturing industry through innovation. The initiative aims to provide resources to drive foodtech and innovations, particularly through access to shared infrastructure and industry knowledge.  

[2] Foodbowl is a government-supported, pilot-scale food processing facility located in South Auckland, New Zealand. The facility provides food businesses a platform to innovate, scale up and commercialise new products.

 


 

About FoodPlant

Singapore’s first shared facility for small-batch food production, FoodPlant, promotes and facilitates innovation within the local food manufacturing industry by providing affordable access to a wide range of pilot scale equipment. It also provides opportunities for collaboration amongst local food companies, as well as deep skills training for industry-ready food technologists, to strengthen and develop the industry’s adoption of advanced and cutting-edge food processing technologies.

Jointly established in April 2022 by the Singapore Institute of Technology, Enterprise Singapore and JTC, FoodPlant is located at JTC Food Hub @ Senoko and has obtained a license from the Singapore Food Agency.

For more information, visit https://www.foodplant.com.sg/.

About the Singapore Institute of Technology 

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is Singapore’s first University of Applied Learning, offering industry-relevant degree programmes that prepare its graduates to be work- and future-ready professionals. Its mission is to maximise the potential of its learners and to innovate with industry, through an integrated applied learning and research approach, so as to contribute to the economy and society. 

The University’s unique pedagogy integrates work and study, embracing authentic learning in a real-world environment through collaborations with key strategic partners. Its focus on applied research with business impact is aimed at helping industry innovate and grow. Targeted to be ready in 2024, SIT’s centralised campus within the larger Punggol Digital District will feature a vibrant learning environment where academia and industry will be tightly integrated with the community.

For more information, visit www.SingaporeTech.edu.sg.

About Enterprise Singapore

Enterprise Singapore is the government agency championing enterprise development. We work with committed companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.

We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups, and build trust in Singapore’s products and services through quality and standards.

Visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg for more information.

About JTC

Since its inception in 1968, JTC has played a strategic role in ensuring Singapore stays innovative and dynamic amid global manufacturing trends.

As a government agency under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, JTC is paving the way forward for Singapore’s industrial landscape with clean, green and smart estate masterplans such as one-north, Seletar Aerospace Park, Jurong Innovation District, and Punggol Digital District. Our estates attract new investment and foster collaborative ecosystems that strengthen Singapore’s position as an advanced manufacturing hub. We also drive innovation in the Built Environment sector by piloting new construction technologies.

For more information on JTC, visit www.jtc.gov.sg.