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Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Food Processing Business in Singapore

Starting a Food Processing Business in SingaporeIn this day and age, we get to eat food packed well and ready to eat or ready to cook. The processed food we are consuming today is thanks to advanced food processing technology. Nevertheless, traditional food processing plants may preserve raw ingredients as there is still demand such processed food. Being among the top food destinations globally, starting a food processing business in Singapore could be a prosperous idea.

Food and culture go hand in hand. Thus, food processing in each culture is unique. It gives way to distinguished recipes and fantastic food around the world. Before the discovery of modern food processing techniques, food preservation was a standard method. Different raw goods need another preservation method, and it is cumbersome to apply to large food portions.

With the advent of modern food processing technologies, more retailers are getting processed agricultural products. Even in warm tropical countries, cold climate products are standard as there is such a thing called refrigeration. Processing raw meats and keeping them for sale later is now much more accessible as plenty of food processing methods are available. Hence, here is the guideline for starting a food processing business in Singapore, which explains the industry practice, business registration, licenses, and permits.


Processing of Food

Food processing comprises processing from raw agricultural products into edible and convenient food. Its primary function is for storing raw meat and fish before being distributed to other food processing establishments. For example, fresh fish are gutted and cleaned before being sent to food manufacturers for further processing. These cleaned fish could be then processed into canned products, convenient for consumers to cook later on. There are also food processing businesses that are cold stores.

Food processing establishments also include slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouse is considered the first level of food processing. Poultry and other livestock are slaughtered, cut, and cleaned. A cold store could receive cut meat from livestock, which is rightfully the following sequence in food processing.

Some slaughterhouses may have their cold stores. From cold stores, packed meat can go to other food processing such as meat retailers or meat processing establishments such as canning, smoking, and other beef manufacturing. However, most final meat products would require cooking by the consumer, unless the consumer is in a kitchen that cooks up the meat and sells it as a dish. Assuming that the final product requires no cooking by the consumer, it becomes the end of the food processing sequence.


Singapore Food Processing Industry

As we know, Singapore imports most of its food from neighboring countries or other parts of the world. Singapore has a modest food processing industry. Nevertheless, the industry is showing signs of progress, and many more businesses are joining the bandwagon. It was once a sunset industry, but now it seems to be expanding in leaps and bounds.

Starting a food processing business in Singapore may need a little more thinking outside the box. For instance, take a look at the variety of niche cafes around the island. Find out if there is a possibility to supply specific locally manufactured ingredients. You may need advice from a Singapore corporate service provider to help you get started as the city-state is aiming, if not already, to be a gastronomic capital.

Thus, many of the food processing businesses in Singapore are manufacturing food into ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook products. It includes creating flavors from raw ingredients and ensuring the food flavors are as tasty as it looks. There are also food processing businesses making healthier concoctions. With more people likely to consume more nutritious food options, starting a food processing business in this niche could be viable in the long run.

Despite being an island, Singapore’s food processing industry is showing no signs of slowing down. The country is open to researching and developing new flavors or preserving local flavors for unique food products. Since its hawker foods are known worldwide, the republic’s local flavors are highly favorable in new food innovations. These food innovations could have the potential for the global market, simultaneously increasing Singapore’s food exports.


Technology and Sharing Expertise

The government of Singapore has always been proactive in utilizing and implementing technology in all of its economic sectors. The food processing sector is no different. Large food processing companies may afford expensive and extensive technology to ensure the quality of food products in huge batches. But food innovation here does not have to be limited to big corporations.

Some facilities are open to sharing their technology with other food processing companies. This practice is highly encouraged as it provides an avenue for other local food processing businesses to innovate in small batches. With smaller batches, food innovation will not cost much and may not burn many holes if it does not meet the demands.


Food Processing Business Registration

Before you get to run your food processing business in Singapore, you may need to know a thing or two about registering a business here. If you are tight on time, you could consider talking to 3E Accounting as your guide to company registration in Singapore. Otherwise, here’s a quick general guide to registering your business.

If you are a foreigner who has yet to decide on your company name, do a business name search. Next, you can register the business with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). After successful registration, you will receive a Unique Entity Number (UEN). This critical business registration number is used to obtain relevant licenses or permits for your food processing business.

While registering your business, you would need to finalize the company type you intend to incorporate. There are several company types available for incorporation in Singapore. Engage with a Singapore company incorporation services to know more. Once your company is incorporated and business registered, it is easier to apply for the necessary licenses.


Applying for The Necessary Licenses

You need to note several aspects of the food processing business when applying for licenses or permits. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is in charge of all licensing related to food processing establishments. It includes slaughterhouses and cold houses. Every food processing establishment will need to go through regular and rigorous inspections by the SFA to ensure food products are safe and fit for consumption.

The food produced is also subject to lab tests to comply with Food Regulations. For every successful licensing, the food processing establishment will get graded. The grades are between A to D. It is graded based on hygiene standards and food safety. The different grading is for establishments to work towards better grading when it’s due for license renewal.

License application begins with identifying the suitability of a premise. The government has allocated specifications for food processing establishments to set up. It should be set up in a flood zone area or compatible industries area. This allocation is to ensure there are no complaints from surrounding areas.

SFA License

Next, you may apply for the license from SFA online. This can be done via the GoBusiness Licensing website. However, you would need to have your layout plan, process flow chart, and particulars of products submitted together. Upon receiving the application, the SFA will contact further to provide professional advice and assess the application.

The premise must be designed to ensure there is no cross-contamination between raw ingredients and final products. Once the SFA is satisfied with your documentation and application, you will receive the green light to renovate the premises.

After completing the renovation, you will need to contact the SFA again for a final inspection. It is best to prepare the following documents before contacting the SFA:

  1. Maintenance schedule
  2. Cleaning and sanitation schedule
  3. Waste management
  4. Pest control plan
  5. Final product transportation
  6. Particulars of food hygiene officers and food handlers
  7. Tenancy agreement (if any)

The above documents are submitted to the SFA inspectors during the inspection.

Once the SFA is satisfied that you comply with the necessary provisions of the license, you will be able to print the approved license after paying the fee. The process of getting the license may seem daunting for some, but you may contact us for assistance at every step of the way.

Starting a Food Processing Business in Singapore