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Support for the Growing Food E-Commerce Industry Through Standards and Digitalisation

The rise of online food sales has been driven by consumers wanting more accessible and convenient options, as well as the pandemic which pushed both consumers and businesses online to buy and sell. To address this trend, Food Industry Asia, Singapore Food Agency, Singapore Manufacturing F&B Industry Group, Enterprise Singapore and local industry players have jointly developed the Singapore Standard (SS) 687: 2022 (Guidelines for food e-commerce).

Prior to this, different food e-commerce and delivery platforms had no common standard in ensuring traceability, safety, and transparency of the food products that are sold through them. The SS 687: 2022 aims to mitigate any resulting issues by providing consistency and uniformity across the food e-commerce industry to ensure the safety of food products sold through online platforms.

The food industry in Singapore has grown significantly in recent years and become an important part of the country’s economy. The shift in consumer behaviour has given impetus to SMEs in the food industry to embrace digitalisation so as to expand their reach and generate new revenue streams. By going onboard different e-commerce channels such as online marketplaces, food delivery platforms, and social media platforms, SMEs have been able to increase their online presence, reach out to a wider audience, and offer their products and services to customers who prefer to shop online.

To support the growth of the food industry in Singapore, grant support schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) is available to help SMEs adopt digital marketing solutions and grow their digital presence and sales by working with pre-approved vendors. The PSG offers funding support of up to 70% for pre-approved IT solutions and equipment and this can help SMEs digitalise to streamline operations and reduce costs. In addition, it was announced at the Singapore Budget Statement 2023 that the Energy Efficiency Grant would be extended to 31 March 2024 to help SMEs in the Food Services, Food Manufacturing, or Retail sectors cope with rising energy costs. This grant can help these businesses adopt energy-efficient solutions and equipment, reducing their energy consumption and, hence, energy costs.

The food e-commerce industry looks to continue its robust growth, with important industry-wide efforts made to enhance business experience through common guidelines, and with continued government support in helping SMEs in the food industry and other sectors adopt digital and sustainable solutions, improve their operations, and stay competitive in the global market.

Contributed by: Tan Weiling (SME Centre@SMF Business Advisor)

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