New platform launched to drive innovation and collaboration in the agribusiness sector, Singapore News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – A platform to stimulate innovation and collaboration between companies in the agri-food sector and to bring more laboratory developments to the market was launched on Wednesday, November 24.

The Singapore Agri-Food Innovation Lab (Sail), jointly set up by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore (ESG), will launch partnerships between partner companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) , -ups, research institutes and institutes of higher education.

NTU President Subra Suresh said at the launch that Sail’s research and development (R&D) capabilities will be supported by the expertise of NTU’s Food Science and Technology (FST) program and Nanyang Business School, as well as than an interdisciplinary team of professors with specialized knowledge in fields. such as food technology, agricultural technology and microbiology.

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who officiated at the launch of the platform at NTU, said Sail will go further in current R&D initiatives by meeting the innovation needs of stakeholders. of Singapore’s agricultural industry.

He noted that the platform has identified four focus areas: agri-food sustainability, productivity and quality, digitization of business operations and product R&D.

“These areas of intervention meet the immediate needs of agrifood players and the capacities of our local suppliers of agrifood solutions,” added Mr. Gan.

Sail has integrated 22 industry partners, including Bunge, a global agricultural merchant who has sought to leverage Singapore’s “robust R&D ecosystem” to develop plant protein solutions for Asian consumers, Gan said. .

“Through Sail, Bunge is working with NTU’s food science and technology program and is exploring a collaboration with local food technology start-up, Float Foods, to study plant-based product solutions,” he said. he adds.

Bunge is looking to work with Float Foods, which is focused on making a plant-based egg substitute, to explore how the texture and taste of its egg product could be further improved.

Sail engages with business partners to understand and analyze the main problems faced by companies, and from there, offers a range of possible solutions, said Boh Wai Fong, co-director of the platform, deputy dean of the Nanyang Business School.

“We then help them find potential partners and then put them in touch to see how they can cooperate more,” said Prof Boh.

Researchers use plant protein, which replaces the egg component, to make plant-based mayonnaise in a food science and technology lab at NTU on November 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

In addition to working with companies, Sail could potentially bring more research innovations to the market.

Sail also aims to commercialize research innovations.


A researcher holding a sample of plant protein (left), which replaces the egg in making herbal mayonnaise (right). ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

One example involves a plant-based mayonnaise created by FST, where the egg ingredient is replaced with a plant-based protein powder, which is made from a valuable secondary food processing stream. high nutritional value.

Professor William Chen, director of the FST program and Sail, said he hopes to find a suitable company through the Sail platform to increase production and eventually bring the mayonnaise to market.

In addition, NTU’s expertise in plant-based ingredients and our knowledge of the entire value chain for food innovation from laboratory to market can also be useful information for companies looking to innovate. “, he added.

One of Professor Chen’s innovations is a probiotic ice cube that can be added to drinks to improve gut health. It was developed in conjunction with ice supplier Uni-Tat Ice and Marketing and released earlier this year.

Mr. Lee Pak Sing, Deputy Managing Director of ESG, said: “As an international trade hub for agricultural commodity players and with a growing agribusiness technology sector, Singapore is well positioned to support growing demand. agrifood innovation. add to Singapore’s capacity for innovation in this emerging field.

“Companies can partner with Sail to anchor their innovation and sustainability activities in Singapore. It will also be a platform for SMEs and local start-ups to explore opportunities to test and extend their innovative solutions beyond Singapore. “

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