New incubator to help Singapore SMEs get products to markets faster

A recently-launched joint food-retail incubator initiative by Enterprise Singapore, NTUC FairPrice and Nanyang Polytechnic will help small and medium enterprises in Singapore get their new products out in supermarkets faster.

The incubator named YumSing! will help food companies accelerate the process of bringing products to market by providing a structured platform to build their brand locally. The initiative will run for a year in three cycles, each of which will see the participation of a different group of food companies and products.

“New product concepts with no proven track record often face challenges in retailing due to uncertainty in market receptivity and customer demand. The food-retail incubator initiative offers companies a platform to sell, test and refine new products before bringing them to market on a large scale,” explains Kee Ai Nah, Executive Director, Lifestyle & Consumer Cluster, Enterprise Singapore.

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FairPrice has opened up dedicated shelves at six of its stores – FairPrice Finest@Bukit Timah Plaza, FairPrice Xtra @JEM, FairPrice@Rivervale Plaza, FairPrice@Singpost Centre, FairPrice@Sunplaza and FairPrice@Tampines Mall – for food manufacturers and food services companies to showcase their new products over a period of three months.

The first cycle of YumSing! sees six companies on board, namely FG Food Industries, Four Seasons Durians, Hiap Giap Food, Mr Popiah, PS Food and Beverage and Tan Seng Kee. Under YumSing!, companies do not have to fork out product assessment and listing fees. Sales data will also be generated and shared to enable them to further tweak their packaging, pricing and promotion strategies.

“FairPrice has always been supportive of our SME partners and have introduced various programmes to help facilitate their business development. YumSing! will offer dedicated retail spaces to test new products, provide SMEs with a platform to gather customer insights and accord special consideration in getting their products listed at FairPrice stores. Together with Enterprise Singapore and Nanyang Polytechnic, we will strive to enable convenient and efficient retailing – an important first step towards nurturing and growing locally-made food brands and products,” added Seah Kian Peng, Chief Executive Officer, NTUC FairPrice.

Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Business Management has developed a three-month masterclass to train food companies in areas of customer insights, retail innovation and, how to supplement their business with value-added services such as strengthening social media presence, improving customer service standards and managing end-to-end supply chain.

“For many SMEs, just managing their daily operations is a real challenge. So to support them, we provide a sustainable framework and share relevant food-retail knowledge for the launch of their new products. Also, the three-month training and consultation we provide will enable the companies to regroup and refocus on important go-to-market aspects of the business such as customer insights, retail innovation and value-added services,” said Esther Ho, Director, School of Business Management, Nanyang Polytechnic.

The food-retail incubator initiative supports the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map in helping companies to gain access to new channels and markets. Enterprise Singapore hopes that more food companies and supermarket retailers will come on board during subsequent runs of the food-retail incubator initiative.