Sustainability, Wellness, Convenience to reshape Asia’s food industry

Mr Lim Kok Thai, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Food Agency, making his opening address.

As Asia’s food and beverage (F&B) industry anticipates significant challenges and opportunities in the years to come,  its leaders gathered on April 25 at the Food for the Future Summit 2019, organised by Food Industry Asia (FIA), in Singapore to discuss the role of innovation in transforming and disrupting the region’s food ecosystem.

Building upon the success of last year’s inaugural edition, the industry conference continues to provide a critical platform for senior industry leaders, regulators, academia, start-ups and regional NGOs to engage in discussions around current industry trends, opportunities, challenges and solutions to drive change.

In his opening address, Mr Lim Kok Thai, Chief Executive Officer of the newly-formed Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Guest of Honour, acknowledged the summit’s role in furthering industry conversations to build a dynamic agri-food ecosystem in Singapore. Mr Lim said: “We see potential in leveraging science, technology and innovation to overcome land and resource constraints, and grow more with less in a sustainable manner.

“The SFA is committed to growing a vibrant and forward-looking agri-tech and food ecosystem, in partnership with research institutions, industry and consumers.”

Mr Ehab AbouOaf, FIA President and Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Regional President for Asia-Australia, Middle East and Africa, said the summit’s key themes – Sustainability, Wellness and Convenience – reflect this year’s key global trends for the food industry and that the summit has been highly successful in driving conversation around them.

He said: “These key trends indicate how we have evolved as a society in our views on the food industry, how we consume food and how our awareness of the impact of our food consumption has changed.”

Mr Matt Kovac, FIA Executive Director, highlighted several new FIA initiatives during his address, including Spark, a working group that will facilitate knowledge sharing and open innovation; a new regulatory insights hub that will provide up-to-date information on regulations and policies; a pre-competitive Circular Materials Lab launched to accelerate research and adoption of sustainable packaging solutions; and a Food Risk Communication toolkit aimed to support regulators across the region in improving consumer trust towards food safety.

The summit kicked off with “The Leader’s Debate: What’s the opportunity in Asia Pacific?”, a lively debate featuring veteran leaders representing multinational and Asia-based food companies on the panel, who discussed the opportunities and outlook for development and growth in the region.

Moderated by Mr Kovac, the panel highlighted the speed at which consumer preferences and needs are evolving and the importance of collaboration to address challenges in the F&B industry, including sustainable packaging and the shift towards healthier diets.

The debate was followed by a “Business with Purpose” table chat with Dilhan Fernando, Chief Executive Officer, Dilmah Tea, and Tanya Barden, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Food & Grocery Council.

They spoke about the rising demand for authenticity in goods and highlighted that millennials and the centennial generation, who will be the greatest spenders in the years to come, have become more attuned to sustainable business practices and its impact on society.

Throughout the full-day conference, attendees heard from industry experts across a range of talks and panel discussions, covering key topics including the rise of modern and healthy eating, e-commerce, personalised nutrition, novel foods and the importance of the circular economy.

Some of Asia’s prominent innovators and entrepreneurs also showcased their products and solutions during the event, from food innovators like low-calorie ice-cream brand Callery’s and cell-based meat company Shiok Meats to sustainable food packaging start-ups like TRIA and Evoware.

Food Industry Asia

FIA was founded in July 2010 by a group of leading food and beverage companies. From its base in Singapore, it seeks to enhance the industry’s role as a trusted partner in the development of science-based policy in the region.

FIA provides an important hub for advocacy and debate. It brings together the food industry’s most senior business leaders to champion initiatives that promote sustainable growth and support regional policies that deliver harmonised results.

Visit for further information.

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