Business

Tharman urges greater collaboration in F&B sector

Tharman urges greater collaboration in F&B sector
A worker packing products at the new S$70 million integrated food production and services hub by Commonwealth Capital, which will use the 300,000 sq ft facility to service the needs of its 151 cafes and restaurants in 12 countries. Photo: Koh Mui Fong
Published: 4:00 AM, January 12, 2017

SINGAPORE — Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday urged greater collaboration among companies in the food and beverage sector, stressing the importance of sharing resources in the industry.

Mr Tharman said this at the opening of a S$70 million integrated food production and services hub by home-grown company Commonwealth Capital, which will use the 300,000 sq ft facility to service the needs of its 151 cafes and restaurants in 12 countries. Commonwealth Capital, an investment holding company, counts brands such as PastaMania, Swissbake, the Soup Spoon, and Udders in its portfolio.

Some of the companies are fully owned, while others it has taken stakes in still enable the founding partners to retain their involvement.

Singling out Commonwealth Capital as showing “one of the very important ways forward for the food industry”, Mr Tharman noted that the company’s model allows it to preserve the identity and character of the players it has stakes in while strengthening the sharing of services, technologies, and management methods that enable them to scale up.

“And I think that is an important way forward — retain the character and diversity of our industry but go for sharing of services, go for backend systems that involve larger investors coming in and smaller players being able to leverage those systems,” Mr Tharman said. “As we go forward … collaboration between players small and big, will matter,” he added.

Commonwealth Capital’s new integrated food logistics, production and services facility is located at Buroh Lane in Jurong East, and will house some of the industry’s most high-tech equipment and processes. These technologies and processes will be able to extend the shelf life of food while retaining the nutritional properties of the items, without the use of artificial preservatives.

The hub also houses a fully automated 13-storey storage and retrieval warehouse system, a new central bakery heavily reliant on automation and a training centre.

“The group is embracing future food trends in its plans, with a focus on offering consumers healthier choices, ‘ready-to-eat’ and ‘ready-to-cook’ convenience as well as peace of mind with advanced food-manufacturing methodology and standards,” said Mr Andrew Kwan, group managing director of Commonwealth Capital.

He also added that the company hopes to derive at least 50 per cent of its revenue from exports in the next two years, with focus on regional markets and the Middle East.