New BCEC research on WA Fruit Quality Index presented in Singapore

ContactsJoanne Peckitt, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
Published11 June 2018

A team of researchers from Curtin University recently travelled to Singapore to present interim findings from their BCEC-funded project “Safeguarding WA Produce through the Development of a Fruit Quality Index”.

Project researchers Dr Billy Sung and Dr Min Teah delivered the interim findings as part of an Innovation and Food Symposium held in Singapore on 10 May. The symposium was attended by representatives from food importers and exporters in Singapore, as well as researchers in the Singaporean food industry.

The BCEC-funded project explores the fruit buying behaviours of Australian consumers, in particular the quality attributes consumers value when selecting fruit.

Opening the event, the project’s chief investigator Professor Ian Phau, said innovation was needed to be competitive in the food industry.

“While Singapore is considered by many to be a saturated market, there are opportunities for growth in the premium produce space,” Professor Phau said.

A panel discussion took place following the presentation, themed around the opportunities for bridging trade between Singapore and Australia, with a focus on WA produce.

Dr Min Teah, Senior Lecturer, School of Marketing, Curtin University (far right) introduces panellists Mr John Catlin, Commissioner, WA Trade and Investment Office in Singapore, Ms Claire Chabrieres, Founder, ShiokFarm, Ms Wendy Foo, Founder, Alternative Selection, Dr Kong Cheen Lau, Senior Lecturer at Singapore University of Social Sciences, Annette Tilbrook, Executive Director, Australia-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce

Panellist Wendy Foo, Founder of Alternative Selection spoke of the opportunities that exist for WA exporters.

“There is no doubt that WA produces quality produce, but there needs to be more education or awareness on the branding, packaging and logistics aspects of their product so that it can be competitive in Singapore,” Ms Woo said.

Claire Chabrieres, Founder of ShiokFarm agreed with the quality of produce from Australia, but remarked that the fresh food industry in Australia can improve trade by providing better systems to help businesses identify overseas partners to work with in Australia.

The panel discussion also moved to the topical issue of innovation and food.

John Catlin, Commissioner at the WA Trade and Investment Office in Singapore said more can be done in the innovation space.

“There are a lot of technologies out there and new types of product, but food innovation is still in its infancy, especially in the foodtech and agritech spaces, for both Australia and Singapore,” Mr Catlin said.

The final report from this project is due to be released later this year.