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Food Service & Hospitality THIRD EDITION



Serving Beauty On A Plate How can restaurateurs tweak their plating styles to attract diners?

Getting Social With Marketing Going The Permissible Way The Authentic Illusion The Holistic Approach To Food Safety

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2 Contents


Getting Social With Marketing

06 Getting Social With Marketing

Social media marketing has transcended from being a novelty to becoming an integral part of the marketing mix. What makes it so important and what can brands achieve with it? By Sherlyne Yong

10 12 16

Going The Permissible Way

Halal certification has evolved from being a requirement to address local demands to a ticket providing access to a booming market. With halal tourism on the rise, restaurants should act fast to seize the opportunity. By Wong Tsz Hin

The Authentic Illusion

Authenticity is the new buzzword, but no one has any idea what it actually entails. In truth, the authenticity that consumers demand may not be authentic at all. By Wong Tsz Hin

What’s The Flavour Of The Year?

Influenced by greater health consciousness, rising affluence, an exposure to different cultures and urbanisation, how will evolving consumer tastes affect the food service sector? By Sherlyne Yong

20 Serving Beauty On A Plate

With food presentation being an integral portion of concept dining, how can restaurateurs tweak their plating styles to better enhance the dining experience? By Fredrick Quek, Sia Huat


Waging War On Unsustainability

Striving for sustainability is far from straightforward for the food service industry. Consumers are not only drivers of conscious eating, but also contributors of unsustainable practices, leaving operators with the task of detangling this paradox. By Sherlyne Yong.

Study: Restructuring For 26 Case Productive Growth

Faced with the mounting challenge of staying competitive in a midst of challenges, the F&B industry has to find new ways of enhancing productivity, even if it means reorganising the workflow process. By Kerryn Chan, Restaurant Association of Singapore


Waging War On Unsustainability

The Holistic Approach To Food 30 FSMS: Safety

Food safety management systems play an integral role in preventing food-borne illnesses and outbreaks, but what are the factors that stakeholders should consider for effective implementation? By Food Services Technical Team, Intertek

Study: Made In Singapore—A Band 32 Case Of Benefits Singapore shows us how it has helped its local manufacturers break into bigger markets by banding them together. By Sherlyne Yong

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4 Editor’s Note

Finding An Identity A

ccording to Datamonitor, the world foodservice industry is expected to reach almost US$992 billion in 2014, representing more than 18 percent growth in five years. Regionally, Asia Pacific holds almost 43 percent of the global market share and this is expected to increase in the coming years. There are two main factors that are driving the growth of the sector in the region— increased spending power of the rapidly growing middle class and changing consumer habits caused by urbanisation. Asia’s middle class is estimated to be around 500 million currently and is projected to increase to 1.75 billion by 2020. Higher affluence means that more people in the region are indulging themselves in culinary and travel experiences. Urbanisation, on the other hand, brings people closer to infrastructures, such as supermarkets and restaurants, and increases the amount of time individuals spend at work. With more dual income families and parents working long hours, the amount of time spent in the kitchen has been reduced drastically with many enjoying the liberty offered by hassle free dining options. As consumers become more exposed and accustomed to foodservice products, their expectations are naturally on the rise as well. With the market being more competitive as everyone eyes a share, foodservice providers have to find ways to differentiate themselves from the rest. Creating a unique identity will be crucial in satisfying consumers who do not just want better quality, but also an experience that is unique and not shared by the masses. Those who play their cards right will reap huge profits in this lucrative market.

Food Service & Hospitality

A Premium Product Of Asia Pacific Food Industry

managing director Kenneth Tan editor Wong Tsz Hin

editor - special projects Sherlyne Yong

editorial assistant Audrey Ang

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publication manager Peh Sue Ann

advertising sales manager Jermine Lim

circulation executive Noorashikeen

contributors Fredric Quek Kerryn Chan Intertek Food Services

Executive Board chairman Stephen Tay group executive director Kenneth Tan

etm Wong Tsz Hin


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San Food specialises in producing a wide range of Halal traditional Singapore Satay, Satay Sauce, and Japanese Yakitori. Considered to be the best satay all across Singapore, SAN Food Satay is distributed to hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and caterers, both locally and internationally. Available in both pre-cook ready-to-eat and marinated raw form. Major retailers • hotels • resorts • other F&B sectors

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Getting Social With Marketing Social media marketing has transcended from being a novelty to becoming an integral part of the marketing mix. What makes it so important and what can brands achieve with it? By Sherlyne Yong

THERE is no doubt that the digital revolution has changed the way we communicate, where the poster child of this movement is none other than social media. Data from an eMarketer report titled ‘Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates’ has revealed that nearly one in four people in the world use social networks, and is expected to grow even more. While there were 1.47 billion social network users in 2012, it increased by 18 percent to 1.73 billion in 2013, and this figure is expected to hit 2.55 billion by 2017. Asia Pacific, which possesses the largest social network user base by accounting for 44.8 percent of all users worldwide, is expected to be one of the biggest drivers behind this growth. Some of the fastest increases are also expected to come from countries like India, Indonesia, China and Brazil. As populations change in the way they communicate, it is vital that companies follow suit if they intend to stay ahead in the game. Social media is one such tool that the food service sector can utilise to enhance brand value and build rapport with consumers. Why Social? Any experienced marketer would know that building relationships is fundamental for a business to be successful, and social media marketing aims to do just that. Across all its platforms, social media excels by facilitating a dialogue between a brand and its audience as opposed to the linear communication that traditional media brings to the table. But the best part of it all is that despite being an inexpensive tool, it has far reaching effects that rivals or even exceeds that of traditional channels.

Jason Howie, Connecticut, US


Food Service & Hospitality

The reason for this lies in the premise behind the medium—social proof—where the basic idea is that if people are responding to something, there must be some justification for them to be spending that amount of time and effort. For instance, if a particular restaurant is always fully reserved, the food there must be really good. Why else would it be that popular? When brought back to the digital landscape, social proof manifests itself in the form of how many ‘likes’ a page or a link has, or the number of times it has been recommended or shared by friends on our social networks. It is also increasingly the way ‘personal’ recommendations take place, in part due to the nature of social media, which is primed for word of mouth promotion as people use it to share their thoughts and experiences. Unlike advertisements or company-owned blogs and accounts, there is a higher level of credibility when people talk about your brand as they are making recommendations of their own accord without expecting anything in return. Good examples of such a phenomenon would include websites like Yelp, HungryGoWhere and OpenRice where people rate and share their dining experiences. For instance, a survey of 10,000 social media users in US showed that over 75 percent of them were more likely to try new things based on suggestions they saw on the platforms. Over 70 percent of these respondents were also more likely to encourage their friends to try new products. Similarly, economists at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley concluded that online reviews are increasingly important in influencing consumer perception of quality. They found that chances of a restaurant hitting maximum

Lucy Orloski Nicola, Fiumicino, Italy

JC Medina, Quezon City, Philippines

Lisa @ Sierra Tierra

Food Service & Hospitality

Unlike advertisements or company-owned blogs and accounts, there is a higher level of credibility when people talk about your brand as they are making recommendations of their own accord. capacity during evenings shot up by 30-49 percent with just a half-star improvement on a Yelp rating. It is evident that positive word of mouth promotion has its benefits, but the question is how that can be encouraged on social media platforms.

Before building a unique voice, brands should consider the following: • Why does the brand exist? • Who does it serve? • What does it value?

Building Brand Perception Social media is essentially an extension of service that goes beyond traditional channels. It is an additional avenue where food service operators can engage with their clients and find out how they feel. One of the main ways this is done is by reinforcing values or concepts that are shared by the audience. Word of mouth marketing naturally occurs when a company delights a customer with service and experience. Transposing this to the online medium, service would refer to how timely a company responds to posts on their page, while experience is largely dependent on the type of content posted and the way it makes people feel. The latter is especially important as it is through content that a brand shares its philosophy. It is also where a brand builds its voice. Brand voice humanises the brand by expressing its personality and reflecting on the humans behind the brand. As a result, marketers should always consider how people might receive their content and strive to communicate well as that is what sets them apart from their competitors.

Purpose is the key foundation here. Brands should think about what they embody—a life philosophy— before even deciding on what to tweet or discuss on the latest social media channels. Connecting With Followers Once a strategy has been established, how can companies reach out to their audience effectively? The first step is to actually build one. Restaurants and other establishments can build their online following simply by asking for it, either in person or electronically through direct mail and advertising. Increased exposure can also come from adding Twitter and Facebook addresses on business cards, menus, brochures and receipts. Food service establishments can also up the numbers by incentivising it through promotions. This could be as simple as offering an exclusive discount to Facebook followers, or providing a complimentary item when someone checks in on Foursquare. Once a following base has been established, the focus can be shifted to building a rapport. In this age



Food Service & Hospitality

Quick Byte On Social Tools TOP PLATFORMS



Strengths: Ultimate control over your content, typically free and you can schedule your posts. Weaknesses: Requires huge time commitment.

Strengths: More than 500 million users worldwide, easy to use and has minimal cost. Weaknesses: Requires a lot of attention, limited customisable branding.




Strengths: Nearly 200 million users worldwide, easy to use and is free. Weaknesses: Message length is limited to 140 characters and requires constant monitoring .

What:This photo-sharing program has more than 80 million users. • •

Pinterest What:A virtual pinboard that allows users to share photos through specific themes. • •


users are female.

What: Users check in at a restaurant through their phone and points are awarded to encourage usage.

Food is the top category,

More than 69 percent of

The program has more

8,000 users like a photo

with 57 percent discussing

than 40 million users

every second.

food-related content.

worldwide and has seen

Garlic cheesy bread is the

more than two billion

most repinned item.


The program gets 1,000 comments per second.

where the constant bombardment of information has led to shorter attention spans, the ability to influence and persuade requires forming an emotional connection. This also involves helping people personally and socially. Nonetheless, other factors come into play as well. According to researchers at MIT, the nine key factors that decide a tweet’s success include brevity, grabbing attention, inviting opinion, humanity, positivity, usefulness, saving money, relevance and narrative. While the research was localised to the Twittersphere, these factors apply to content creation across all social media platforms in general.

Starbucks for instance, has reflected several of these principles with its Tweet-a-Coffee campaign, which encourages consumers to send a US$5 gift card to friends on Twitter. According to research firm Keyhole, this program prompted about US$180,000 in the first two months alone. At the end of the day, success in social media marketing hinges very much on to the audience. This includes keeping in line with the business philosophy, reaching out to consumers in an interesting way and last but not least, creating content that speaks to the audience’s projected identity. FSH

Social media is a tool that the food service sector can utilise to enhance brand value and build rapport with consumers.

The Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) is a national body and industry association that works together with relevant partners to champion the interests and growth of its members and manufacturing community in Singapore; enhancing their competitiveness through capability development & capacity building, innovation & productivity, adoption & implementation of standards, overseas expansion, and providing assistance and opportunities for companies to collaborate, network; to grow and expand both locally and internationally. SMF carries out a myriad of activities to enhance the competitive edge of its members. Leveraging on its extensive network of contacts, 10 Industry Groups and 6 Centres of Excellence, SMF is well placed to represent its members objectively and to facilitate communications among the government, foreign delegates and the local manufacturing community.

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Going The Permissible Way Halal certification has evolved from being a requirement to address local demands to a ticket providing access to a booming market. With halal tourism on the rise, restaurants should act fast to seize the opportunity. By Wong Tsz Hin

THE importance of halal certification used to be focused on addressing domestic demands. It makes plenty of business sense as well since food establishments have to adhere to strict raw material sourcing, handling and processing requirements in order to be certified. If the local Muslim population is not significant enough, then it would be hard to justify the extra effort necessary. As recently as last year, the three biggest fast food chains in Hong Kong, McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut, rejected a request from Mufti Muhammad Arshad, the special administrative region’s chief imam, to provide halal meat at some of their outlets. Around 250,000 of Hong Kong’s 7.155 million population are Muslims, almost half of which are female domestic workers. According to Mr Arshad, the region has more than 50 restaurants that serve halal meat. However, the restaurants’ stance was not shared by the region’s tourism sector lawmaker Paul Tse, who said that he would welcome anything that would increase the diversity of Hong Kong. “It is also a chance to attract tourists from Muslim countries to Hong Kong. We are showing that we are catering for them,” he added. Currently, halal foods are offered at the Hong Kong’s Disneyland and Ocean Park. Rapidly Growing Halal Tourism In fact, halal tourism has grown so much in the past few years that countries around the world can no

longer ignore it. According to a report from Crescentrating, a Singaporean rating agency for halal-friendly travel services, the halal travel market was estimated to be worth around US$140 billion in 2013, accounting for almost 13 percent of the global travel. The figure is expected to jump to US$200 billion by 2020 on annual growth rate of 4.8 percent, which is higher than the global average of 3.8 percent. There are around 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, which is around 23.4 percent of the global population. The Muslim population is growing at twice the rate of the global population and up to 70 percent of global population growth over the next 30 years will be in Muslim countries. In addition, the growing Muslim middle class segment, especially in Southeast Asia, would help drive the tourism industry. The global halal market value for trade in halal foods is estimated at US$547 billion. Malaysia, which ranked first as the most Muslimfriendly holiday destination, has seen the number of Muslim visitors more than tripled from 1.5 million in 2000 to 5.5 million in 2013, with Indonesians making up 40 percent of the arrivals. The country expects the figure to hit six million in 2014 and 6.5 million in 2015. Similarly, Japan’s Kansai International Airport in Osaka witnessed 70 percent increase in visitors from Indonesia. The country is hoping to increase the number of Southeast Asian visitors from 780,000 in 2012 to two million by 2016. In order to achieve that, the country has published

Rafiq Mirza, Sapporo, Japan


Food Service & Hospitality

a guidebook on Muslim-friendly restaurants, mosques and attractions in Japan. On top of that, efforts are made to ensure that more halal meal options and facilities are made available. “Efforts to respond to the needs of (people who eat) halal food are indispensable to the future of the Japanese tourism industry,” said Masanori Naito, professor at Japan’s Doshisha University. Sculpting A Friendly Landscape Other countries are quick to the action as well, with countries and regions around the world building halal certified infrastructure in an attempt to win tourists over. In early 2013, Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, in collaboration with Taipei-based Chinese Muslim Association, announced that sixteen more restaurants have been given halal certification, bringing the number of compliant restaurants to 31.

Malaysia, ranked first as the most Muslimfriendly holiday destination, has seen the number of Muslim visitors more than tripled in 2013.

Davidlohr Bueso, California, US

Emran Kassim, Nagoya, Japan

Lilian Wagdy

Food Service & Hospitality An increasing number of hotels are offering facilities that cater specifically to Muslim tourists, such as prayer rooms and even separate swimming pools for male and female visitors. Food establishments play a critical role in this movement because gastronomy is an essential element of the cultural experience. Apart from visits to historical sites, relaxing at beaches and taking rides at theme parks, tourists also like to sample local delicacies. This is an area that has been lacking for many countries, but it is about to change. Many restaurants have already recognised this lucrative opportunity and are trying to gain a competitive edge by getting halal certified. In July 2013, the U-Don, a Sanuki udon noodle shop, became halal certified to give Muslim travellers a taste of the popular Japanese staple. South Korea’s largest bakery chain Paris Baguette obtained halal certification in December 2012 from the Korea Muslim Federation as its first step in achieving halal status in other major Muslim countries. Increased Spending Power At the moment, the market is yet to be saturated and there is still plenty of room for restaurants to establish themselves. Despite the religious restrictions, modern Muslim consumers are just like any other consumers around the world. They crave for delicious food and an unforgettable experience. With their increased spending power, they will be willing to pay premium to sample something exotic. In many countries, halal fine dining options are limited. This trend would most likely be changed in the coming years. According to Yanis Bouarbi, founder of website, young Muslims want to go out and enjoy different cultures without compromising their religious beliefs. “We don’t just want cheap kebabs. We want Japanese, Thai and French food.” Many a times, Muslims living in or visiting nonMuslim countries are forced to make do with the limited selections available or go for alternatives such as vegetarian or Kosher meals. But why should this be the case? “The halal food market is an excellent business opportunity for companies looking to grow new markets to sustain their growth,” says a SPRING Singapore report. “This is also a niche area where Singapore food manufacturers can develop to further differentiate themselves.” There is a lot of potential in this market segment, except that with its extraordinary growth, it may not stay niche much longer. FSH



Food Service & Hospitality

The Authentic Illusion

bfishadow, Beijing, China

kev-shine, Johannesburg, SouthAfrica

Authenticity is the new buzzword, but no one has any idea what it actually entails. In truth, the authenticity that consumers demand may not be authentic at all. By Wong Tsz Hin

AS a child growing up amidst the Asian phenomenon which sees fast food being positioned as more premium than ordinary local food fares and the dream meal for adolescences eager to adopt any western culture in order to look cool, I have always wondered— what makes French fries French? For a long time, I have held the belief that certain elements of these fattening grease-soaked sticks of golden goodness must have originated from France for it to gain its name. However, as I later found out, just like the Hainanese chicken rice, a dish hugely popular in Malaysia and Singapore, and the Singapore-style noodles, which can be found in almost all Chinese eateries in Hong Kong, the snack became known as such because of the person who introduced it, rather than it being a native cuisine of the country. Sampling the tastes of different culture is nothing new and has been in practice for centuries. Those craving to try something different would often naturally expect an authentic experience. The question is—what is authenticity?

Is it the meticulous recreation of an ancient recipe using traditional techniques and indigenous ingredients? Is any fine-tuning permitted? Does using an electric stove instead of a charcoal fire ruin the authenticity? Is there allowance for substitutes in terms of ingredients? As it turns out, there is no clear definition on that. Simply put, consumers have very little ideas on what they are demanding for. Definition Of Authentic An organisational behaviour research report titled ‘The organizational construction of authenticity: An examination of contemporary food and dining in the US’ says that “a common sociological observation stresses that authenticity is not a ‘real’ thing or something that can be objectively determined but rather a socially constructed phenomenon.” While a study conducted by the Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2013 on the ‘Dimension of Authenticity in Malay Cuisine from Experts’ Perspective’ suggested that “the terms of authenticity in each cuisine are

Food Service & Hospitality

given by the community and is confirmed by experts through the ingredients, methods, cooking styles and taste.” Every individual has their own set of criteria and requirements on authenticity, and more often than not, it hinges on personal perception and opinions. Reena Pastakia, owner of a blog that shares her family recipes, lamented in a post that her colleague had said to her, “I rather try Gordon Ramsay’s Indian recipes than yours because they are more likely to be authentic.”. She explained that although most of her recipes were “handed down through generations from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, cousins to cousin,” people discredited them because they were too easy to cook. The lack of special equipment or ingredients involved has made the dishes less ‘authentic’. In fact, there is a large group of chefs who feel authenticity hardly matters because the taste of the food itself should outweigh the unrealistic expectations attached to the concept. “Food is not static. What we eat is constantly

KFC had to localise their items to ensure diners return after the initial novelty wore off.

evolving and changing. New things become available,” said Sara Jenkins, Italian chef and owner of an Italian pasta restaurant, in a post. She shared that once she ate in a tiny restaurant in Apuglia, Italy, that prided itself on having everything coming from the garden behind or the farm down the road. “But when I went back the next day to cook with them, I was amazed to find them happily using Kraft singles in their eggplant Parmesan.” Andy Ricker, owner of a chain of restaurants that recreate the food of Thailand, even went as far as banishing the terms ‘traditional’ and ‘authentic’. He wrote that he once had a cook, who was born and raised in Thailand, that criticised the dishes on the menu because there was no tomato inside. “Ask 20 Mexican cooks to make a tomatillo salsa and you’ll get 20 different salsas.” “To attempt to extricate foreign influence in search of something purely Thai would be difficult indeed. To neglect dishes with Chinese influence would be to lose a substantial portion of what we now think of as Thai food,” he added. “And without Western influence, there wouldn’t be bread or tomatoes.” In his experience, as much as diners have the genuine desire to experience food as it exists in Thailand, many of them would want to customise the dishes according to their preferences, making absurd requests such as ‘spicy curry’ that is not spicy. In other words, they are destroying the authenticity that they so badly wished for. Localising The Experience The ambiguity associated with the definition of the term ‘authentic’ has not stopped diners from seeking it and in most cases, paying a premium for it. Some researchers have explained that the insistence on pursuing an authentic experience is very much a quest to differentiate ourselves in a world where most items are mass produced and available to the majority of the population. Similar to those who invest in an expensive sports car to stand out from the rest, we want to grab the spotlight in life by experiencing something that is not commonly shared. Instead of embarking on a single-minded and foolhardy journey towards pure authenticity, restaurants should leverage on this lucrative opportunity by managing expectations. In a large part, it is not about delivering a dish that is authentic in every regard, but something that is ‘authentic’ enough to the consumer that can at the same time cater to their taste.


Although globalisation has shortened delivery distances and made ingredients and equipment more available than before, very few restaurants can survive without any form of localisation at all. There is a reason why fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC have to customise their menus with local items. When the first KFC opened in China in 1987, the people were unfamiliar with westernstyle fast food restaurants and the strong novelty value attracted a lot of customers. However, Yum! Brands, the company that operates and licenses KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and other restaurant brands, quickly found out that to excel and hold on to the market share, there is a need to change its business model to meet local needs. After all, diners would only return if the items on the menu are good enough for their standards.

It is more of a marketing exercise, fuelled with the injection of novel elements, such as a special ingredient or technique; it would be as ‘authentic’ as how diners are sold on the idea. This is perhaps summed up best in a study on Japanese food consumption in Hong Kong, which found that Hong Kong people seldom patronise Japanese restaurants run by Japanese because they “only enjoy some exotic feel, but not something completely alien to them.” The common phenomenon in the reception of foreign food cultures in Hong Kong is that in addition to economic considerations, localisation also has its cultural and psychological factors. So what happened to establishments that are run by Japanese according to Japanese customs? They remain as hotspots for Japanese expats, while locals continue to shy away. Authenticity is an overrated buzzword that is best served for marketing purposes, to attract modern consumers who wish to have an experience that is different from those that are accessible to everyone else. In truth, most diners are just looking for certain features that cross their ‘authenticity’ checklist. However, to ensure that they return, the recipes would have to be tweaked to their tolerance levels. Of course, it would be neat if French fries were really from France, but as long as it tastes good, does it really matter? FSH

Dinner Series. Miami, US

Prasad Pillai, Muscat, Oman

Selling ‘Authenticity’ Imagine if the ‘Chinese food’ establishments that spread across the US in the 1950s featured original recipes instead of localised dishes, would they still be as popular? These restaurants delivered an experience that people felt was sufficiently ‘authentic’ and that was good enough. In fact, deep down, many of the diners were well aware that what they were having were not truly ‘authentic dishes’. Rumours were rampant back then that when Chinese diners visit these restaurants, they would order from a ‘secret menu’ that was different from those presented to Westerners. Most patrons would let this pass because what we want is a differentiating experience. To be blatantly honest, how many people are able to tell whether every element of a dish is prepared and processed in the most ‘authentic’ way?

KAren Neoh


Food Service & Hospitality

Diners want an exotic feel, but not something that is completely alien to them.

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What’s The Flavour Of The Year?

Influenced by greater health consciousness, rising affluence, an exposure to different cultures and urbanisation, how will evolving consumer tastes affect the food service sector? By Sherlyne Yong COMPRISING central kitchens, full service restaurants, fast food restaurants, caterers, cafés, and confectioneries, the food service sector is a diverse one whose offerings can differ wildly from each other. Yet if there is anything that all operators can agree on, it would be the importance of appealing to consumers’ palates. As with most things on paper, achieving this is much harder than it looks. For starters, consumer tastes are constantly evolving and it takes a delicate balance to successfully pick up the latest trends while keeping it aligned to the brand’s core offerings. Fortunately, most of the trends occurring in 2014 are versatile enough to be expressed in different ways, revolving around the areas of health, authenticity, internationalism and greater experimentation, as well as convenience. Indulging In Better Health Consumers across the globe have been expressing a marked interest in health over the last few years, and this is expected to continue. According to Yu Yu Ong, research analyst at Euromonitor International, rising health concerns have led to consumers opting for less oil, salt and sugar when eating out. Expensive healthcare costs have inadvertently contributed to the greater health consciousness that we see among consumers, who are turning towards diet as a preventative solution to ill health and the

need for future treatment. At the same time, they are not willing to compromise on taste and flavours. It is therefore, crucial that food operators find the right balance to give the best combination of health and indulgence in order to stay competitive. According to Ms Ong, the health trend manifests itself differently among the various countries in Asia. In developed nations, such as Singapore, the trend has given rise to alternative diets like vegetarianism, portion control, as well as fortification. However, this takes on a different spin in developing nations, where the dominant focus is reducing unhealthy ingredients such as salt and oil instead. While this starts off with using fresh and naturally healthy ingredients, and switching to healthier cooking methods like steaming, roasting and grilling, it is expected to eventually move into the realm of functional food and organic food. Some companies have catered to this growing demand subtly by offering healthier substitutes, such as in the case of McDonald’s offering corn cups or apple slices to replace fries in a set meal, or by including special diet options into the main menu (eg: gluten-free, vegan). Meanwhile, others have made health their principal focus and selling point, leading to the rise of collagen hotpot outlets, low-sugar cakes and even bakeries and restaurants that have infused traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into their products.

Robert Baldus, Knoxville, US


Food Service & Hospitality

College of DuPage Newsroom

Food Service & Hospitality

Real Foods Another trend that has risen in tandem with the demand for freshness and quality is authenticity. As consumers become more educated on the workings of food processing and manufacturing, they are increasingly interested in the provenance of their food. While price matters, it is no longer the only selling point. According to a survey conducted by Mintel, food safety and health are major concerns among Chinese adults, where half of the respondents indicated that they are most concerned about the safety of food products. In other parts of Asia, shoppers in Japan and South Korea are also more cautious due to food safety concerns. As a result, consumers as a whole are paying more attention to information like the types of ingredients that go into a dish, their country of origins, calorie content, as well as nutritional effects. Translating this to food service operations would mean menus that thoroughly describe items, including the list of ingredients used, where they came from if possible, and how they were prepared. Customers desire such information to attain peace of mind and these details indicate that there is some sort of traceability measure in place—a welcomed sign in light of the recent spate of food scandals. On the other hand, authenticity is also dependent

Consumers are paying more attention to information like the types of ingredients that go into a dish, their country of origin, calorie content, as well as nutritional effects.

on the establishment’s positioning. For instance, customers expect restaurants that pride themselves on traditional cuisine to use actual traditional ingredients from the cuisine’s place of origin, or to be prepared with authentic methods. The Global Citizen People are now travelling frequently and farther than before, and part of the push for authenticity stems from internationalism. Technology has brought about greater interconnectivity and broken geographical boundaries to create the global citizen. These citizens have been driving tourism with their keenness on exploring foreign cultures, a large part of which can be experienced through food. Citing travel as a newfound part of the value proposition, the Mintel study has shown that more people are choosing to invest in experiences. Survey results show that 34 percent of the Chinese respondents said that they have spent more on holidays to treat themselves. Both digital mediums and increasing tourism have resulted in a greater exposure to other cultures, in which food plays a significant role. For instance, it is not uncommon to hear of people travelling on foodie trips, where an area is explored through its signature dishes. In addition, people are no longer settling down in just one place but travelling and


Convenience Urbanisation has been occurring at an exponential rate as developing countries take the economic spotlight. The byproduct of this phenomenon is not just increasing affluence among a growing middle class, but also a greater demand for convenience. In a top 25 list of international foodservice operators compiled by Euromonitor and Nation’s Restaurant News, the top global food service chain was found to be convenience store 7-11. In addition, the top three spots in Asia were all taken by convenience stores, while the fastest growing chain among the top 25 in 2012 went to Dico’s, a Chinese chicken fast food chain. With a faster pace of life, consumers are looking for food on the go. This presents a lot of opportunities for the fast food segment, which has the potential to do even better when it is positioned for the health trend as well. Market data from Information Resources has found that convenience oriented segments are expected to demonstrate high growth, where the onthe-go segment is valued at US$90 billion. With their hectic lifestyles, consumers are also less likely to stick with the typical three meals a day schedule. Instead, snacking has taken precedence alongside skipping meals altogether in a landscape where it is now common to find breakfast items on dinner menus. Ultimately, the consideration of trends is a nuanced affair as they may turn out to be short lived fads, but they can also last into the years. It is therefore, important that companies identify the trends that best apply to them, and not those which they think are the most popular. After all, trends are always changing, but a restaurant’s unique selling point should stay the same. FSH


emigrating across the globe for work purposes and other reasons. Together, these reasons have fuelled a demand for international cuisine, where a person’s favourite food might be from another culture instead of his or her own. In her analyst insight titled ‘Analyst Pulse: Popular Flavours and Cuisines across the Globe’, Priyanka Bagde, survey analyst at Euromonitor International, depicted how rampant the popularity of other cuisines were. It was found that there was a general trend towards spicy food, which was influenced by immigration trends, as well as healthy food. As a result, the fastest growing flavour trend for Asia Pacific was grilled foods, followed by spicy, sweet, fried and then pickled/sour. In the meantime, the top cuisine growing in popularity within Asia Pacific is Japanese food, which has long been perceived to be fresh, clean, and healthier. Korean cuisine also saw a huge boom, which could partly be attributed to the K-wave that has been seen across the region. This is then followed by Italian, Thai, American, Indian, Chinese, Tex-Mex, Middle Eastern and Brazilian. The advent of photo sharing apps, social media, food blogs and cooking shows have also provided consumers and chefs alike with a constant stream of inspiration. With their curiosities piqued, consumers are keen on experiencing new flavours and novelties. As a result, gourmet experimentation is gaining traction. Take for instance the cronut, a doughnutcroissant hybrid by French pastry chef Dominique Ansel. Following its launch in early 2013, the dessert gained a huge following across the world and has spawned replications by confectioneries worldwide, including places like Singapore, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China. While the cronut’s popularity might have ebbed, the hybrid food craze is here to stay with the scene being perpetuated by items like Dr Oetker’s pizzaburger and chef Ansel’s chocolate chip cookie milk shot. With explorative eating on the rise, restaurants have free reign on innovating their menus and concepts. This move definitely has its benefits if the result of this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is anything to go by. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand) tops the list with its repertoire of dishes that draw on little-known recipes from Thai cookbooks of centuries past. In second place is Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan), with its take on French cooking with Japanese ingredients, followed by Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand), which serves up traditional Indian cuisine using molecular techniques.

Tim Turner for Benny's Chop House, Chicago, US


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Consumers are keen to experience new flavours and novelties and as a result, gourmet experimentation is gaining traction.

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Serving Beauty On A Plate With food presentation being an integral portion of concept dining, how can restaurateurs tweak their plating styles to better enhance the dining experience? By Fredric Quek, marketing executive, Sia Huat

THE dining experience as a whole can change dramatically depending on a few things: service, presentation and taste. With much emphasis on concept dining nowadays, the presentation and complementation of ingredients play a crucial role in dining experience. Presentation as a whole includes the exterior design, and goes all the way down to the table where food is served. Chefs and restaurant owners will acknowledge that dinnerware is a critical part of the presentation. Plating Styles Traditionally, dinnerware is predominantly rounded and paired with the classic plating rule that chefs follow as a guideline. To illustrate the classic rule in the metaphorical sense, imagine a round plate as

the face of a clock. The diner is seated closest to the main dish. Usually, the protein item is placed at the 6 o’clock position, the starch item is placed at the 11 o’clock position, and vegetables at 2 o’clock. As a new era emerges, classic plating is used less often. Now, plating is more like a piece of art—it takes no standard form. The reason becomes clear with observation in the field, where different shapes of plates from different makers have been causing stirs on the dynamic of classic plating. However, no matter what style of presentation it is, protein, starch and vegetables should be on the main dish. So what makes an impressionable presentation? The answer depends on the type of restaurant or dining experience being portrayed.

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Buffet Lines For a buffet line dining experience, the restaurateur’s choices for serving may include the sliver plated chafing dish, which presents a classic look through its reflective surface, or a mix of clear glass top with silver plated body that allows consumers to peep through the clear glass, which is sealed to prevent heat from escaping. These chafing dishes are beautiful as a whole, but require tonnes of space when a full range buffet spread is run. For restaurateurs that are faced with space constraints, fret not. Another good way to present a full spread is through the porcelain gastronorm pan. This hard milky white material is smaller in size, meaning it could fit easily into a regular oven, and does not compromise on looks. With its smaller frame, restaurateurs can enjoy the flexibility of presenting a large variety on one table top. Clear glass is another great material to consider as it conveys a sophisticated personality that enhances the charisma of the dish. It is also smaller in size and easy to clean. Strict clear glass is no longer the norm, instead, natural-like shaped and layered interior are moving ahead. Clear glass can be said to be the new symbol for display and practicality. A buffet line is meant to serve food on a larger scale, and presentation can be dull and flat without proper garnish. The beauty of garnishing is that it takes the form of loose vegetable or herbs that can be entirely unrelated, and leaves the dish unaffected when placed on top for escalation and vibrancy. Managing The Details Concept dining requires a special attention to details throughout the process of preparing food, as not only does it have to taste and look good, it also has to match the concept of the restaurant. Portioning, colours and the type of dinnerware plays a big role. Chefs will have to think ahead for vibe consistency. A thematic mood usually calls for the plate to be of a certain colour and even influences the colour of the food. For example, on a Valentine’s Day menu, the restaurant lighting should be dimmer and red will be the main colour. As such, the head chef will brainstorm a dish that coincides with a red velvet essence. Different colours set a different mood or season that amplifies the atmosphere and activate the visual senses. In fact, colours are so important that not only can it help to complement the main dish and garnish, it also changes the perspective of the consumer by providing information on the food served. Fresh ingredients are brighter in colour and should be the preferred choice for colour contrast.

Timing is crucial in plating as the colour of food items may change.

Less Is More Serving the right portion per dish is important where food presentation is involved, especially for a three to eight course meal. For such a dining experience, the last thing a chef wants is to overload on the first dish, which forces the consumer to swallow the food without fully savouring the flavours that are painstakingly matched, or worse, to leave on the first course and never return again. To accurately portion food, one must look at the number of courses that will be served and the plate that will be used. The higher the number of courses, the smaller the portion should be. In food presentation, forget about the phrase ‘more is good’. More need not necessarily be good,



Food Service & Hospitality but could potentially destroy the presentation. Tools such as a cookie cutter, sauce dispenser, spray, and even brushes can be used to create effects. An additional common option is to use a spoon to lay out lines or curves to give dimension in food presentation. Repetition is also a popular method in presentation. Sometimes, repetition is shown when stacking upwards for height, or sideways for a nice coverage. Neat and well portioned plating is the most sought after style. Right portioning gives a good handle on artistic plating as well. Thanks to advanced technology and creative minds, circular shapes are no longer in the limelight. Angled shapes and other designs are setting the motion. Aside from shapes, there are also colours that can merge beautifully to create a meaning to presentation and enhance the hierarchy of standards in food presentation.

To accurately portion food, one must look at the number of courses that will be served and the plate that will be used. In certain restaurants or exhibitions, multiple plates of different sizes are stacked strategically on top of one another to achieve the style and height that a single plate cannot. With that said, height in food presentation is another important factor. Do not be afraid to cut the protein items into smaller chunks as it aids particularly in complementing the precise size of the dinnerware. Smaller pieces are another way of plating that can add meaning to the dish. The Art Of Timing Time is crucial in everyone’s lives and the same applies to food. Raw vegetables change colour quickly when it comes into contact with oil. Protein items change colour according to doneness, while shellfish shrink tremendously in size if not timed perfectly, and the list goes on. Preparing the ingredients, cooking it and plating to serve in a timely fashion to ensure quality, size, and not to forget temperature of the food, is fundamental before presenting. The temperature of food changes quickly if the plate is not warm enough and might affect the desired condition. There are so many things to consider for a beautiful outcome, but the attention spent will be well rewarded. With the right tools, equipment, dinnerware and even flatware, food presentation can be simplified. Start with a thinking process on what the end result should be, the kind of dinnerware to use, how

Multiple plates of different sizes can be stacked strategically on top of one another to achieve the style and height that a single plate cannot.

the colours will play out, and what tools are needed to achieve the desired height and shape. Lastly, remember that time is of essence—keep everything organised, and beautiful plating will be within reach. FSH

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Waging War On Unsustainability

Striving for sustainability is far from straightforward for the food service industry. Consumers are not only drivers of conscious eating, but also contributors of unsustainable practices, leaving operators with the task of detangling this paradox. By Sherlyne Yong

to patronise establishments that share their values or reinforce their identity, it is perhaps time that food service operators think about a more sustainable future. Waste Not, Want Not One third of the planet’s food production— approximately 1.3 billion tonnes—goes to waste each year, said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its report titled Global Food Losses and Food Waste. This is extremely wasteful in view of the fact that there are about 850 million people worldwide who are undernourished, with one in seven people going hungry each night. According to estimates by the FAO, reducing global food waste by a mere quarter would be sufficient to feed the 870 million people worldwide who are suffering from chronic hunger. With food waste generally occurring at the retail and consumer levels in mid to high income countries, a two-pronged approach involving consumers, as well as food service operators and retailers, is needed. Consumer behaviour is a huge contributing factor to food waste in industrialised countries. Many a times, consumers have been unable to control the temptation of loading up on food at a buffet line. At others, food is unfinished as it does not meet the demands of taste buds that have been increasingly refined by affluence. However, such behaviour can be somewhat mitigated by operators, where companies can make significant differences by making changes in the

James Bowe

A growing middle class in the age of relentless consumption behaviour heralds in a generation that not only possesses greater disposable incomes, but an even greater inclination to spend it. This holds true especially for the food service sector, where people are eating out more and willing to lavish on the dining experience. Yet, despite its effect on economic gains, growing consumption has also resulted in an unwanted side effect—a threat on sustainability. A study by Hong Kong-based Friends of the Earth has revealed that Hong Kong people spend approximately HK$350 billion (US$45.11 billion) on dining out each year. However, 40 percent of the ordered food is left uneaten, which is equivalent to HK$130 billion worth of food that is being thrown away each year. According to the study, this amount of food is sufficient for feeding 2.8 million children in a poor country for a week. At the same time, food wastage contributes to environmental problems through wastage of resources like fuel for transportation and fertilisers for crops, filling up landfills and contributing to methane production. This begets the question: how can we justify our dining choices when it has such severe ramifications on food security, hunger and the environment? Consumers are starting to ask the same question. According to US-based National Restaurant Association’s 2014 culinary forecast, environmental sustainability is one of the top three trends, while sustainable seafood is ninth on the list. As people tend

Steven Depolo, Detroit, US


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Grey World, Manchester, UK


Lucy Orloski


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Food waste generally occurs at the retail and consumer levels in mid to high income countries. areas of planning, procurement, packaging, as well as marketing and sales. For instance, planning for portion control can help to prevent overconsumption. Besides the size of a dish, this could come in the form of food wastage levies, as most commonly seen in buffet restaurants. Service personnel should also be trained to advise diners if they are over-ordering. Alternatively, food waste can be reduced through ingredient sourcing practices. This includes wholeanimal dining practices where every useable part of an animal is utilised, and leftover ingredients like off-cuts are incorporated into dishes. It could also be using local and seasonal produce, or even own-grown items. For instance, the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside in New Zealand generates its own honey for the buffet line with an in-house bee colony. Aboveboard, Under The Sea Another key movement within the sector is doing away with unsustainable seafood altogether. Greater spending power has been fuelling the demand for seafood. However, overfishing and thoughtless practices are threatening the supply of seafood such that entire species might eventually disappear. The most prominent example is shark finning, where the fin is often prized as a delicacy in traditional Chinese banquets and dinners. However, sharks are particularly prone to overfishing as they take a longer time to grow and mature.

Planning for portion control can help to prevent overconsumption.

“Unregulated fisheries are the main cause of declining shark populations, and more than 180 shark species are now threatened with extinction,” said Markus Schueller, VP, F&B Operations, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide. In fact, while only 15 shark species were threatened in 1996, this number shot up to 180 in 2010, as sharks are killed at the alarming rate of 73 million a year. This is a huge cause for concern as they are one of the top predators in the food chain. Their extinction will lead to other fish populations going unchecked, changing the entire marine ecosystem. Realising the potential ramifications, environmental and wildlife conservation organisations have been lobbying for a ban on shark’s fin, while several hotels have also jumped onto the bandwagon by refusing to serve it. Hilton for instance, has implemented a worldwide ban on shark’s fin in its global portfolio of 645 hotels, alongside Conrad Singapore, the Shangri-La chain of hotels, and The Fullerton Hotel among others. But, how does this hold up against consumers who have been brought up with shark’s fin as part of their tradition? “While the dish remains a popular delicacy in many cultures for celebrating momentous events, we have noted that demand for it had already started to decline over the last few years,” said Mr Schueller. According to him, guests were happy to accept alternative choices, and as a result, overall revenue was not impacted. On the flipside, “since we announced this ban, we have received positive affirmation from consumers, members of the public and other stakeholder groups,” he said. This only serves to reinforce the idea that change should not be feared, especially in the area of sustainability, as consumers themselves are changing as well. FSH


Case Study: Restructuring For Productive Growth

Faced with the mounting challenge of staying competitive in a midst of challenges, the F&B sector has to find new ways of enhancing productivity, even if it means reorganising the workflow process. By Kerryn Chan, CEO, Restaurant Association of Singapore

“IN the last few years, productivity has not been that spectacular. In fact, since the financial crisis, it has been mostly flat. But we know that this effort takes time, and we know that we can do better. How do we know? If you compare ourselves with the best countries in the world—the global leaders—the US, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden, we are only 70 percent of where they are now. We are not the leading edge yet, generally speaking, and in construction and in food and beverage (F&B), we are even further behind,” said Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong at the country’s May Day Rally in 2013. Productivity refers to getting more output for less input; this means having more goods and services produced with the same amount of resources by doing things in an orderly manner. Room For Improvement With productivity being one of the fundamentals for economic growth today, companies need to reorganise and increase efficiency throughout their operations to achieve quality growth. Productivity can

The program is designed to help firms achieve organisational cleanliness and standardisation.

College of DuPage Newsroom


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be measured by several different mechanisms, and one key area sits in improving workflow processes within the organisation. Singapore’s F&B sector has been one of the hardest hit in recent times, due to its heavy reliance on the previous readily available foreign manpower, as well as increasing rents. F&B companies have therefore been called on to stay relevant by constantly upgrading themselves and exploring new ideas to overcome the present business challenges leading towards growth. In particular, front- and back-end housekeeping practices and workflow process within the organisation are still prevalently limited in most F&B establishments, which cause workflow tension and longer process time for various tasks, leading to inefficiency and low morale in employees. To support their call for productivity improvements, the Singapore government has put in place various support schemes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embark on their journey towards productivity and service upgrading. With its underlying principles hinged on the proven Japanese Kaizen methodology developed by Toyota Production System, the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) has implemented the 5S programme to improve productivity in the sector. The programme was adapted to suit the requirements of the sector and incorporates key industry and regulatory requirements (eg: risk assessment, food hygiene practices and organisation restructuring). Its role is to serve as a stepping stone for companies to develop internal capabilities, frameworks, and streamlining processes to tackle the challenges of the business environment today. It is also designed to achieve organisational cleanliness and standardisation in the workplace. A well-organised workplace will offer a safer working

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ChefSteps, Seattle, US

A well-organised workplace will offer a safer working environment, resulting in a more efficient and productive workforce and operations.

The Ideal Solution The programme was developed primarily for restaurants in the beginning, focusing on kitchen and front-of-house operations. However, as it received more recognition and support from successful F&B operators, with adoption by warehousing, logistics, bakeries and confectioneries, the various segments and regulatory requirements were included as part of the project implementation and assessment criteria. This created a more robust and relevant program for companies to take up and benefit from, which today, is applicable not just to restaurants but also food manufacturers, food processors, offices, cafÊs and bakeries. The program consists of five primary phases: sort, standardise, systemise, shine and self-discipline. At each phase, different areas of operations are carefully studied and audited before gaps are identified. Corrective and/or preventive measures, together with monitoring and tracking systems, are put in place to evaluate the participating company’s effectiveness, while new processes to improve workflow are set on trial. During the project implementation phase, the cycle repeats throughout all phases of 5S. In carrying out each phase, companies are expected to reap benefits such as better space utilisation, systematic visual management system, faster store retrieval time, a cleaner workplace, better understanding and minimising wastages, better

Dennis Wong, Hong Kong

environment, resulting in a more efficient and productive workforce and operations. In addition, a key feature of this programme is to boost the morale of the workers, promoting a sense of pride in their work and ownership of their responsibilities.

Each employee in the company is expected to play their role in maintaining workflow process and provide feedback on SOPs or potentially new solutions.

manpower and resource allocation, and adhering to regulatory requirements and industry best practices among others. In particular, employees play a crucial role as the programme is only effective and useful when employees are using and following the processes consistently. The 5S concept requires a strong internal champion, usually the CEO or MD, and the appointment of a 5S team to manage and monitor the status as well as the progression of productivity of the company. At the same time, each employee in the company is expected to play their role in maintaining the workflow process of the system, feedback on standards of procedure and/or on potentially new solutions. Regular trainings and renewal audits are conducted as part of the maintenance cycle and all employees are significant in ensuring that the workplace is fulfilling the programme’s requirements and standards.


by implementing a structured workflow process in every area of the organisation, and appointing a productivity champion to keep the programme on track. Provision of an internal training is also instrumental in ensuring that new employees are familiar with the established processes. For companies that came on-board the program in the recent years, such as Yum Cha, joining mission trips to countries such as Japan and China, to learn about productivity measures applied in restaurants and visits to other local companies during briefing sessions provided the push factor for the company to take the first step to improving their operational efficiency and productivity. Early adoptions of productivity improvement processes will allow companies to implement the

With productivity being one of the fundamentals for economic growth today, companies need to reorganise and increase efficiency. Reaping The Benefits In more compact businesses such as Pine Garden’s Cake, which has a small storefront in a heartland area, space utilisation is often a challenge. By adopting the program, the company was able to manage their storefront better and utilise space and resources more efficiently through the means of sorting their store items and labelling them for ease of locating these items. “Previously, only about 20 percent of floor area was used for revenue generation. With proper use of space and inventory control, the area used for revenue generation is now significantly increased,” said Wei Chan, director of business development at Pine Garden’s Cake. Other improvements that the company made include wastage reduction, where increased cleanliness and standardisation within the company eliminated wastages caused by improper inventory control, as well as better accountability and constructive staff communication that were brought about by clearly designated roles and responsibilities. Applicable to companies with larger operations as well, the Paradise Group has achieved a better utilisation of space and reduced manpower reliance due to better organisation. For instance, retrieval time of an item has been reduced from the previous five to eight minutes to only 30 seconds now. Mirroring these results, Han Jin Juan, MD of Palm Beach Seafood Restaurants has also added: “With structure in the storage area, it takes approximately 30 seconds for a staff to retrieve an item. Training time has also been reduced as things are organised.” In another example, the Jumbo Group of Restaurants have roped employees into the program

requirement directly into their daily procedures, which helps to reduce and lessen the challenge of change and implementation in future. Understanding this, SPRING Singapore currently offers funding schemes for qualified SMEs in the areas of project consultancy, manpower, and overseas learning trips, while Singapore’s government has announced that its Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) has been extended and enhanced to PIC Plus with an increase in expenditure cap to help companies grow by improving productivity. In a glimpse, productivity in the F&B sector has room for a lot of improvement, and companies must take the first step towards increasing productivity by restructuring workflow processes. While there are challenges in the ever-changing F&B landscape, companies still need to continue improving themselves to remain competitive and poised for growth in the long run. FSH

Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland


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The 5S program consists of five primary phases: sort, standardise, systemise, shine and selfdiscipline.

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Jun Seita, Palo Alto, US

The Holistic Approach To Food Safety

Food safety management systems play an integral role in preventing food-borne illnesses and outbreaks, but what are the factors that stakeholders should consider for effective implementation? By Food Services Technical Team, South East Asia, Intertek

Distinguishing The Standards Businesses can be overwhelmed with the array of food safety standards available in the market, be it within the region or on a global scale, but an FSMS is a concoction of reliable and proven systems and industry guidelines. Good manufacturing practice (GMP), good hygiene practice (GHP) and good warehousing practice (GWP) set the groundwork or the prerequisites, while the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) principles or the Codex Alimentarius 12 principle steps lay down the foundation for a very

systematic and highly traceable food safety assurance plan. Now, what makes it more comprehensive, is the adoption of a proven Quality Management System based on ISO 9001 which many companies have already been implementing.

DC Central Kitchen, Washington, US

FOOD safety management systems (FSMS) have been drawing a lot of interest in the food industry. It is a system which comprises a group of food safety programs, procedures and measures with the ultimate objective of preventing food crosscontamination and occurrence of food-borne illness among consumers. It is designed to actively control risks and hazards throughout the entire process flow of food. With the birth of various and internationally recognised FSMS standards, government authorities, retailers, buyers, traders and food and beverage organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of implementing an effective system as it gives them a seal of quality and safety, and a competitive advantage in the market.

The equation is: FSMS = GMP/GHP/GWP + HACCP + ISO 9001 FSMS aims to prevent food contamination and the occurence of food-borne illness among customers.

Various international and certifiable standards on FSMS include ISO 22000 (International Organisation for Standardisation) and FSSC 22000 (Food Safety Systems Certification), British Retail Consortium (BRC)窶認ood version 6, International Featured Standard (IFS) and Safe Quality Food (SQF). It is a known fact that all of these standards incorporate HACCP principles and the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. The New Necessity While the process of obtaining an FSMS certification is thorough and time-consuming, many food safety advocates agree that it is a necessary evil rather than a burden. Food manufacturers and establishments which are not ready to embark on obtaining an FSMS certification may start by referencing the Singapore Standard SS 583:2013. This standard aims to help establishments get started in their implementation of

Food Service & Hospitality an FSMS by providing various templates for recordkeeping, among others. A systematic and proactive approach to implementing an FSMS is guided by three principles: • Active managerial control and monitoring; • An effective and sustainable HACCP Plan; and • A working quality management system.

Implementing a FSMS helps to maintain a level of acceptable hygiene and food safety standard.

Daniel X. O'Neil, Chicago, US

A comprehensive and effectively-managed FSMS helps many food manufacturers, restaurants and cafés maintain a level of acceptable hygiene and food safety standard. From an operational point of view, proper implementation enhances product quality and prolongs the shelf-life of perishables and critical food products, as the system focuses on preventing hazards from contaminating food. This involves the use of monitoring measures intended to keep hazards under control, such as by performing time and temperature checks and date coding. For traceability purposes, such monitoring checks need to be recorded and documented accordingly. Corrective actions are taken when the critical limit is not met. For instance, if the food supplied was delivered at a temperature above eight deg C, corrective action such as rejecting the food and reviewing the existing supplier needs to be taken. With such an implementation in place, inevitable risks related to the cross-contamination of food can be reduced. ‘Outbreaks’ or occurrences of food-borne illnesses are therefore, prevented.

Changing Roles Putting the system in place takes some intricacy, where the roles and responsibilities of the management in developing and implementing the FSMS need to be looked at. Once the scope of the FSMS is defined, it is imperative to ensure that each personnel in the organisation is aware of their role and responsibilities in order for effective implementation to take place. Ideally, a food safety team should be appointed within the organisation to establish, develop, maintain, and review the FSMS. This team will be led by a team leader or food safety manager who is tasked to manage the system and ensure that the processes needed for the FSMS are established, implemented, maintained and updated. Small and medium sized organisations may opt to assign the food safety roles to their quality assurance team. After successfully implementing the system, management reviews and evaluations should be performed at planned intervals. Besides management reviews, internal audits must also be carried out to evaluate if the FSMS conforms to the planned arrangements and requirements of the standard. These are all measures that are necessary in sustaining an effective and accurate FSMS. With that being said, it is perhaps vital to highlight that any effective FSMS will still flop if the management fails to understand the importance of maintaining a high level of understanding among staff on personal hygiene and the compliance elements of the chosen FSMS standard. In fact, the underlying foundation of a good FSMS lies in the personal hygiene practices and work habits of food handlers as this usually translates to how they behave during actual food handling and preparation. It is therefore, necessary for all food production personnel to undergo training on food safety, hygiene and safe practices, and HACCP. Nevertheless, the aim is always to cultivate awareness in each employee to commit to these hygiene practices without pressure from management or any supervision. All in all, food manufacturers and food and beverage establishments need to understand that there are many factors that need to be considered when executing a FSMS. As this market grows, it is evident that FSMS is more of a necessity rather than a ‘flavour-of-the-month’. Companies need to be wary and create plans that will help them ease into implementing an effective FSMS or they may face the unfavourable outcome of being phased out of the industry due to product recalls and food-borne illnesses. FSH


Case Study: Made In Singapore —

A Band Of Benefits

Singapore shows us how it has helped its local manufacturers break into bigger markets by banding them together. By Sherlyne Yong

Tiberiu Ana, Utrecht, the Netherlands


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WITH the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community coming into force, the region will see a single common market and production base established by the 10 ASEAN members—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Evidently, such a market will intensify competition as it becomes more open. Seeing this as an opportunity for food manufacturers to push further, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation has initiated a Local Enterprise and Association Development (LEAD) fund to support two programs—Food and Hotel Asia 2014, and Working In Partnership (WIP)—with the aim of helping local companies expand their export capabilities. The core premise of these programs is to house local SMEs under a collective brand so that benefits are multiplied many times more than what a manufacturer can achieve alone. Mmm, Tasty One of the top perceptions that consumers have of made-in-Singapore products is that it is of high quality, hygienic and safe for consumption. This is in a large part due to the Tasty Singapore branding, a collective label that signifies diversity, innovativeness,

dynamism, quality and safety. All companies under that umbrella brand have to adhere to stringent food preparation processes and food safety standards that include accreditation to ISO 9001:200, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certifications, and the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s (AVA) factory grading system, which ensures food safety by using a science-based risk analysis and management approach based on international standards. The product of these initiatives is a safe and trusted culinary offering that imbues a strong cultural connection to Singapore’s heritage. Combining food safety and ethnicity allows local manufacturers to stand out in a time where consumers in global markets are increasingly interested in flavours from foreign ethnicities, but tend to be more distrustful of the production quality in nations other than their own. Apart from fulfilling a specific demand seen in overseas markets, manufacturers under the collective brand also enjoy economies of scale and earn better mileage from the brand’s marketing efforts. By combining the various company profiles into a single recognised food brand, it is easier to promote and position participants in international markets. It is also through the Tasty Singapore brand that

Food Service & Hospitality

Working Together Nonetheless, the largest advantages gleaned from banding local manufacturers together have been condensed into the Working In Partnership (WIP) programme—a concept that helps local SMEs break into new markets through the “One stop, one contact, one purchase order” business model. The program’s first event was launched in Bangkok, Thailand in 2010 with the Central Food Group, but has since expanded to include countries like Myanmar and Hong Kong. As the program continues to gain momentum, eight Tasty Singapore food fairs are planned this year alone, to countries like Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. The program allows retailers and supermarkets to order multiple products from participating companies at varying quantities, through a single source, before consolidating it into one shipment. Each run may see as many as eight to 18 companies participating. Not only does this allow participants to enjoy

Hieng Ling Tie, Penang, Malaysia

Trade Shows It is not uncommon to see associations like International Enterprise (IE) Singapore or SMF leading a group of Singapore companies to international trade shows, where a diverse mix of products highlighting local strengths would be displayed. This year for instance, SMF will be leading a group of 74 local companies to Food&HotelAsia—a regional food and hospitality trade show that will gather 2,800 exhibitors from 70 countries/regions and 54 group pavilions. Some of the offerings that will be highlighted include the durian kaya, premium XO and traditional kaya by Fong Yit Kaya, as well as Amoy Canning’s Sauce-In-Box product, which comprises a chicken curry paste and coconut premix, and is different from the usual range of food where cooking is required. Another selling point seen at these congregations is the fact that most made-in-Singapore products are aligned to the growing health trend. One key example is Unifood, which produces the Unisoy line of instant soy milk made from non-GMO organic beans. Kee Song Poultry will also be introducing the first chickens that have attained Singapore’s Health Promotion Board’s ‘Healthier choice’ seal, as well as the technology behind the chickens’ lactobacillus antibiotics-free diet.

Kristine Paulus, New York, US

The Integer Club

made-in-Singapore products have been promoted at international trade shows, food festivals and association-led missions in countries that include the Americas, Middle East, Europe and Asia.

A selling point of the congregations is the fact that most madein-Singapore products are aligned to the growing health trend.

economies of scale from savings in joint promotions, advertising, shipping, handling and freighting charges, it makes breaking into new markets much easier as it lessens the perceived risk that comes with ordering something new. Retailers are often deterred from ordering an entire container worth of untested products due to fears that the product might not be popular with their clientele. With the WIP, where the minimum ordering quantity is much lower, this issue is eliminated and SMEs are able to get their first orders in much faster time as well. More importantly, in light of the impending AEC, the WIP program aims to help companies realise the vision of increasing their market space and getting out of Singapore before it becomes too crowded and late. Alluding to the common phrase of ‘strength in numbers’, it has been clear that banding together provides benefits that a single entity would not have been able to achieve alone. In the case of Singapore’s food and beverage manufacturers, this has led to increased savings, enhanced exposure and a faster time-to-market. FSH



Food Service & Hospitality

Product Highlights



Singapore Chicken Curry Paste is our new launch product in 2014. Amocan with more than 100 years food heritage offers the simplest form of ready-to-cook paste. We have combined the finest ingredients with our authentic taste for a truly homecook flavour. It makes users’ menu more memorable with a main dish accompanied by this Amocan paste and provides the ultimate in convenience. Users can use this as the perfect base to create Asian-style vegetable dishes and seafood delights and now everyone can cook!

We are looking for distributors Find us at: • FHA6K2-11

For enquiries, contact:




Fong Yit Kaya (Since 1945) is the specialist Kaya maker in manufacturing the tasty and uniquely Singaporean delicacy. The high quality bread spread is made with a luxurious concoction of eggs, coconuts, pandan leaves and cane sugar. Aside from traditional high quality XO Kaya, the jam maker also created yet another uniquely Singaporean flavour: XO Kaya - Durian. The flavourful durian gives the traditional jam an extra boost in aroma while maintaining a creamy texture. A beautiful spread for tea and snacks. Also available in five other wonderful flavours.

Interested in working with Hotels. Looking for distributors in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand. Find us at: • FHA 6K3-04

For enquiries, contact:




To experience the sumptuous Singapore Satay, Leo Satay has done all the groundwork in advance. The meticulous preparation of marinades and choice meats is something you need not concern yourself with. With meat choices of chicken, pork, mutton, beef and ostrich, Leo Satay’s HACCP certified manufacturing process still uses the same secret family recipes that were created by its founder, retaining the same authentic satay taste enjoyed since the 1960s. Apart from the convenience of being offered in pre-cooked form, it is also available as raw marinated meat. Considered to be the best satay all across Singapore, Leo Satay is distributed internationally to hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, food courts and caterers.

Looking for distributors in: China, HK, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam Find us at: • FHA: 6L1-14

For enquiries, contact:




SAN Food has grown to become one of Singapore’s largest manufacturer, distributor and exporter of Halal satay. These Halal offerings include the Singapore Traditional Satay and Japanese Yakitori, which are distributed internationally to hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, food courts and caterers. The traditional satay is available in meat choices of chicken, beef and mutton, while the yakitori uses choice cuts of chicken. Both the satay and yakitori have been marinated for extended hours in special blends of marinades and mixes. Apart from the convenience of being offered in pre-cooked form, it is also available as raw marinated meat. This allows resident chefs to employ their own creative juices, be it in food presentation or tailoring the food to suit local tastes.

Looking for distributors in: China, HK, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam Find us at: • FHA: 6L1-14


For enquiries, contact:

Food Service & Hospitality

Product Highlights



The ASLI brand of satay is made using its 1910 satay heritage recipe, with using quality meat, fresh herbs and spice. ASLI satay contains no added MSG, fillers, preservative or food coloring. With a wide array of satay offering—chicken, mutton, beef, duck, beef tripe, hot & spicy, mushroom satay and the latest twice award winning Tender Satay, you will be spoilt for choice. HACCP and hALAL certified, our delicious authentic satay have also been awarded the ‘Healthier Choice’ seal from Singapore’s Health Promotion Board.

We are looking for distributors in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia Find us at: • FHA: 6K1-03


For enquiries, contact:


The Inspired Chef, an artisanal ice cream brand by Fraser and Neave (F&N), has added the ‘Ms Strawberry Madeleine’ flavour to its line of products. Created by Chef Daniel Tay of Bakerzin, this particular flavour pairs classic strawberry ice cream with rich, buttery French madeleines, resulting in a light and moist, but rich texture. Other handcrafted flavours that are available include the divine chocolate tart, caramel popcorn avalanche, raspberry cheesecake rumble and the double peanut fudge.



The A&M Treasure Sands is a sugar replacer by Nature Treasure Group that is specifically designed and processed for use with liquid and dry mix applications. Made from 99 percent high intensity sugarcane extract and 100 percent sugarcane extract derivatives, it has a very similar taste profile to sugar and provides no unpleasant aftertaste. It is heat stable, has a sweetness intensity up to five times that of regular sugar, and can reduce calories by up to 80 percent when used as a sugar substitute. It also has a long shelf life and is particularly stable in acidic, liquid and dry products.



The Wands range by Tea Ideas comprises stick-like tea packets made out of aluminium foil that work as both stirrers and strainers, and are available in flavours like earl grey, masala chai, camomile, darjeeling and chocolate among others. The teas use only leaves and no tea dusts, and undergoes a ‘re-manufacturing’ process to remove all impurities. It has also attained a range of certifications that include ISO 22000:2005, HACCP, IFS Certified tea plant and organically grown teas that comply with India Organic, JAS (Japan Agricultural Standards), EU and USDA certified standards.



Enquiry Number



Us A


6L2 - 08 Visit

Us A


2GG -15

Aw a r d e d Made In Singapore

For achieving 18 consecutive years of “A” Grades Manufacturing Licence


1st and only Glutinous Rice Ball Manufacturer to achieve AVA’s Gold Award

Enquiry Number


Glutinous Rice Ball

Roti Prata Soyato Ice Cream

Golden Sesame Ball

Chinatown Food Corporation Pte Ltd 中华食品厂有限公司 No. 1 Senoko Road #04/05-00 Annex Building Singapore 758134 Tel: (65) 6382 0500 • Fax: (65) 6382 0600 • Email:

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