Business

$70m integrated food facility to boost production for export

Commonwealth Capital launches $70 million integrated food facility

A local firm has opened a $70 million state-of-the-art facility, bringing food logistics, production and services under one roof.

The facility in Jurong looks poised to transform the way local food manufacturers think about scaling up their operations for internationalisation.

Singapore-based investment holding firm Commonwealth Capital, which has stakes in home-grown brands such as The Soup Spoon and Pastamania, opened its massive 300,000 sq ft headquarters yesterday.

Other than hosting some of food manufacturing's most high-tech innovations, the integrated facility will also improve logistics processes, increase time savings and provide economies of scale for food production.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was guest of honour at the launch, said Commonwealth Capital is showing "a very important way" for the food industry to develop.

"I think that is an important way forward - retain the character and diversity of our industry but go for sharing of services, go for back-end systems that involve larger investors coming in and smaller players being able to leverage those systems," he said.

Mr Andrew Kwan, group managing director of Commonwealth Capital, said internationalisation was a key driver.

He said: "This facility was built for international markets. If it was for just the domestic market, we would be underutilising it."

The company hopes to derive at least 50 per cent of its revenue from exports in the next two years - a major increase from its current share, which Mr Kwan said is "very little".

While more than half of its production is for its own brands, Mr Kwan expects this proportion to skew towards external brands as the facility ramps up production for export.

It currently produces pastries, meat, seafood and ready-to-eat meals for both in-house and external brands. Brands under the group serve 24,000 meals daily to its 151 cafes and restaurants in 12 countries.

HALAL-CERTIFIED

Mr Kwan said the company is targeting Asia-Pacific, as well as the Middle East, as the facility is halal-certified.

The facility boasts Singapore's first high-pressure processing line, a $2-million equipment that will increase the shelf life of food while retaining its nutritional quality.

The building also boasts a fully automated 13-storey warehouse.

The facility also helps brands reap economies of scale.

Mr Kwan said that a Singapore chain with 30 to 40 outlets "is just a start-up" in markets such as Japan or the US.

So, raw material requirements such as flour and eggs are consolidated at the facility to allow the different brands to enjoy economies of scale.

Mr Kwan emphasised that "Singapore Inc has a unique proposition" because of its credibility in food safety.

"We are very focused on helping local brands that have shown a lot of potential to scale up, and to go overseas as well - that is a bit of national service that we are doing."

foodTharman ShanmugaratnamSingapore