LOCAL food manufacturers can now extend the shelf-life of their food products by using the advanced technology available at a shared facility, which saves them from having to spend huge sums to invest in equipment of their own.
The technology, called High-Pressure Processing (HPP), applies high pressure instead of heat or chemicals to food, so that it retains its nutritional qualities and taste - while also extending its shelf life by up to four times.
With HPP, these manufacturers can develop better-quality food products and have a better shot at tapping global market opportunities.
Manufacturers now processing their products overseas can also reduce costs by using the shared facility in Jurong.
Jointly set up by Enterprise Singapore, Warehouse Logistics Net Asia, and Singapore Polytechnic's Food Innovation Resource Centre, the facility was officially launched on Monday by Trade and Industry Senior Minister of State Sim Ann.
This public-private effort is the first in the pipeline of shared facilities to be rolled out for the industry over the next three years, in line with the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map.
In her speech, Ms Sim said: "This helps to accelerate the creation and commercialisation of new products, enabling our food companies to seize new growth opportunities."
Food exports makes up more than half of Singapore's food manufacturing sales, with steady growth overseas due to "strong emphasis on food quality and safety", she noted.
"To sustain this growth, we need to be steadfast in our efforts to differentiate ourselves through constant innovations - not only in product development, but also in new food processing and packaging techniques," Ms Sim said.
Five food companies have been using the facility for commercial production since its soft launch in February. Some 60 companies have conducted trials at the facility, and more than 20 of them have indicated interest in carrying out production there.
Ms Sim highlighted local processed-meat manufacturer Golden Bridge Foods as one company that has benefited from using the facility.
It is now able to develop a range of clean-label products with reduced artificial preservatives, while retaining the taste of the products and catering to consumer preferences for healthier choices, she said.
To build up local expertise in the technology, two Masterclasses were organised last year. Nearly 100 professionals, managers, executives and technicians from more than 60 companies have attended them
More classes will be announced.