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Date [ 2015-05-15, 04:55 ]

(Singapore=Koreanpress) From Spring News =Rising costs and the tightening labour market have proved challenging for many companies, especially for SMEs seeking ways to seize growth opportunities and expand overseas. Due to strong competition and a challenging market, local food
manufacturing company Foodedge Gourmet Pte Ltd turned to innovation.
Mr Manjit Pal Singh and Mr Karl-Gunter Ableitner founded Foodedge Gourmet, a supplier of premium frozen food to restaurants, caterers, hotels and airlines in Singapore, with more than 400 clients island-wide. Since it started, it has focused on continuous improvements to drive business growth and has also expanded into the retail sector.

As a specialist ice-cream producer, Foodedge Gourmet started to notice a growing trend towards customized and exotic flavours. Facing a ‘fresh ice-cream wave’, the company wanted to be ready. So it adopted a more innovative ice-cream range introducing more than 300 new flavours such as durian ice-cream and lychee sorbet.
“We are trying to find our niche, and through innovation we have been able to develop a range of ice-creams and sorbets that have a truly local flavour,” Mr Singh informed. “By constantly creating new flavours, we are able to

continuously cater to  changing consumer tastes.” At the same time, Foodedge Gourmet tapped into SPRING Singapore’s Capability Development Grant (CDG) to build a cutting-edge ice-cream plant. The grant, which gives SMEs the opportunity to bring more innovation into their business operations, defrays up to 70% of qualifying project costs – from consultancy and training fees to certification and equipment costs.

The new plant deep freezes its icecream to maintain its freshness without
using preservatives. The plant, being fully automated, enables the company to significantly increase its production capacity. Previously, it had been manually batch-freezing its ice-cream, which was labour intensive and produced around 25 litres (five tubs) per batch. With its new ice-cream plant, however, Foodedge is now able to produce up to 500 litres per hour, around the clock.

As a result, the company increased sales by 30% in 2014, the plant’s first year of operation, as the company can better meet the higher demand. “We sell locally and the market was picking up,” said Mr Singh. “Thanks to our plant, we are now able to do so much more with the same number of staff, and produce a better quality product.”

With improvements on their mind, Foodedge is developing its retail brand, Melvados, which specializes in cakes, breads and ice-cream. Over a six-month period, Foodedge engaged a consultant to evaluate its brand equity and potential before recommending several solutions to help grow its footprint.
“What really made a difference was the survey which the consultant conducted to profile our customers’ demographics, needs and expectations,” Mr Singh revealed. “The data we collected gave us better insight into our current and potential customers. This in turn gave us the confidence to open a second shop in Joo Chiat – something the consultant recommended.”

According to Mr Singh, the plant has also opened up new possibilities for the company. The next step is to expand into new markets, such as Malaysia. Foodedge says it is now looking to gain a foothold in the regional market through a new range of ice-creams that it wants to export overseas.

“It is important to diversify risks as you cannot rely on one market,” Mr Singh felt. “We are trying to find our niche abroad, and our new plant is helping us to do that. Consumers want a new range of ice-cream and sorbet flavours, which means we are on the right path to a productive and profitable future.”


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