Destination Innovation: Why Singapore may soon be the pioneer for food and drink manufacturing

December 1, 2016
4 min read

With the government’s recent launch of the Food Manufacturing Industry Transformation Map, Singapore is aiming to become the leading food and nutrition hub in Asia.

Lighting the path on the way towards this position is product innovation, with lifestyle and health trends specifically called-out by the government’s Spring Singapore initiative as key opportunities for companies to capture.

Over the past few years in Singapore our research shows that there have been five factors influencing the market and making waves in product innovation: Sugar reduction; Cafe culture; Heritage; On-the-Go and Healthy Living.


Jim Jams

Jim Jams Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

83% less sugar than leading brands and free from gluten.

Sugar reduction

Sugar reduction is a top health concern for a growing base of Singaporeans who are becoming more conscious of lessening their diabetes risks. Many are already self-regulating their sugar intake in line with Health Promotion Board recommendations, but many still seek products in the market that offer lower sugar formulations. So far this year, 7% of new food and drink products launched in Singapore have carried a low, no or reduced sugar claim, up from just 4% of products launched in 2012 according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).


cafe mocha

Mon Passion Café Mocha Uni-President

100% arabica premium barista-certified beans.

Cafe culture

The artisanal coffee culture in Singapore continues to develop, especially spurred on by well-travelled professionals, expats, and young entrepreneurs. The growing familiarity with high quality offerings from coffee shops and cafes puts pressure on roasters to continue to provide top of the line flavours and remain innovative. The desire for coffee and tea products that invoke a café experience are influencing the growth of premium positioned RTD beverages.  Detailing the quality of coffee beans is a common way that products are premiumising their positioning.


Banana milk

Banana Flavoured Milk, Dutch Lady PureFarm

Contains protein, calcium and vitamins, while low in fat.


Consumers are embracing their Singaporean heritage, especially via distinct flavours of local food, and seeking modernised versions of old favourites. The Singapore Tourism board has recognised the phenomenon and promoted this trendy new cuisine with the name ‘mod-sin’. This trend formed the theme of the July 2016 Singapore Food Festival, with both new and traditional Singaporean flavours showcased. In particular, flavour innovation in dairy drinks has recently seen an increase in the number of local, tropical fruit flavours being used.



100% Pineapple, Pronature Perfect Snacks

100% natural fruit that can be enjoyed on the go.


The hectic pace of life in Singapore is creating a need for more on-the-go alternatives. Brands are offering solutions not only in convenient package sizes, but also formulations that keep consumers fuller for longer or offer enough nutrients to be used as a meal replacement. According to Mintel GNPD, in the past two years alone, there’s been a 28% increase in the number of food and drink products launched in Singapore carrying an on-the-go claim.


6 in 1 soy

6 in 1 Instant Grain Soy Cereal, OWL Nutrified Soy
25% lower in sugar and 25% higher in wholegrains than regular soy drink.

Healthy Living

Healthy living is pervasive across all aspects of Singaporean life, having evolved from healthier eating into more exercise and even more ‘athleisure’ clothing on sale. The government push towards healthier grains has made waves through product innovation, with Mintel GNPD showing a 48% rise in the number of food and drink products launched in Singapore with a wholegrain claim between 2014 and 2015. More product introductions are putting emphasis on the existing wholegrains in their formulas or the launch of new varieties containing novel and increased quantity of healthy grains.


Want to find out where food and drink innovation will be heading next? Download our 2017 food and drink trends now.

Jemi joined Mintel in 2015 as a Trend and Innovation Consultant for the South East Asia region. She is responsible for creating local Insights Reports delving into product category trends and delivering Insight Presentations around SEA. Jemi has over 7 years of research experience, primarily in Innovation and Analytics. Previously, she worked with Affinnova (a Nielsen company) as a Project Manager and Consultant.

Jemi Crookes
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