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Date [ 2013-02-07, 10:00 ]

 (Malaysia=koreanpress)  by Benjamin Kim = South Koreans will now have something to look for on their supermarket shelves. This is bottled Ya Kun Kaya Jam – made from duck or hen eggs. Adrin Loi, 58, who owns the Ya Kun Kaya Toast chain, is in the last stages of making a deal with a supermarket chain in South Korea to supply 16,800 jars of kaya jam every three months.  "This will be the first overseas supermarket we are selling to. It will help grow our brand," he said.


Across the border in North Korea, frozen prata is now available, courtesy of the Chinatown Food Corporation.  These are just two examples of local food companies diversifying into overseas markets. It is an increasing trend with figures from International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, showing that the country's total food and beverage exports were worth $9.64 billion last year, up from S$7.84 billion (US$6.32 billion) in 2008. IE which promotes the overseas growth of local firms, reveals that, the products are fast gaining popularity in Asean, India, Australia and South Korea. In contrast,, the island-state’s food and beverage exports to Britain and the United States have fallen by half since 2008 because of the economic slowdown there.  “Popular items sent abroad last year include condiments, pre-mixes, beverages, frozen products and three-in-one goods like instant coffee. While such products make up only a fraction of the S$510.3 billion worth of goods exported from, the rate at which their numbers are growing is encouraging,” revealed the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.  The association, which has 130 members, links the growth to three reasons: more free trade agreements over the years, rising production costs overseas and the high quality of local goods.


Honorary Chairman, Sunny Koh, informed, Singapore is now starting to tap more consumers in countries like Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.  Such markets were hard to penetrate in the past due to their low manufacturing costs and high import duties."But now, their cost of production is going up and the retail price gap is narrowing," he added. He added that the bad publicity surrounding tainted, made-in-China products has also benefited Singaporean goods.  Audrey Tan, IE Singapore's Divisional Director (Food), Lifestyle Business Group, said the rise of consumerism in regional markets such as China and Southeast Asia has also boosted demand for Singapore exports. "There is also an increasing awareness of Asian flavours and concepts," she opined...  IE Singapore holds food fairs abroad to help local firms hook up with potential partners. Last year, it held a one-week event in Shanghai and is looking to focus on the Middle East and China this year.


Good news for local manufacturers such as. Thomas Pek, 52, Managing Director of Tai Hua Food Industries. He was happy to report that last year; they began exporting soya sauce to Walmart in Mexico and to stores in Nigeria last year. But now its products are sold in more than 40 countries, an increase from 30 countries, three years ago."We're pushing exports. Singapore is a small market," he said. To tap potential new sources, he often participates in overseas food exhibitions organised by IE Singapore. He feels growth would have been faster if the Singapore currency had not been so strong in recent years.  A spokesman for Yeo's said it sees spiraling demand for its canned soft drinks in Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. "Singapore is becoming too competitive and saturated.


There are so many items consumers can choose from, so many other brands and house-brands." She felt it was now important to branch out into other markets.  Other big boys, including Prima Taste, which exports sauce kits for dishes like laksa and chicken rice, and Tat Hui Foods, known for its Koka instant noodles, have also seen exports grow. Bengawan Solo's Director of Business Development, Henry Liew, 34, said it is in talks to export kueh lapis and cookies. "The market here is quite small and we already have 42 outlets. I think any real growth will come from overseas exports," he said.

Benjamin@koreanpress.net
 
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