To help Singaporean manufacturers export to the country, two manufacturing bodies—Singapore Food Manufacturers Association (SFMA) and Forum of Indian Food Importers (FIFI)—have recently signed a memorandum of understanding.
“The MOU aims to help Singapore companies overcome regulatory hurdles when entering the Indian market and for the private sector to deepen their networks,” commented S. Iswaran, minister for Trade and Industry.
According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, India has the potential to become the world’s largest middle class consumer market, and the predicted aggregated consumer spending is nearly US$13 trillion by 2030.
The Indian retail market is also estimated to be worth US$450 billion, and one of the top five retail markets in the world by economic value, reported IE Singapore.
These make the Indian market an attractive one for companies all over the world, including those of Singapore.
Today, the Indian government controls food imports, and it has stringent rules about products that are stocked in its local stores and supermarkets. One such example is that all drinking water sold in supermarkets needs to be sold in clear bottles.
These stringent regulations primarily protect Indian consumers, but also make it quite difficult and complex for foreign companies looking to enter the market. There is also a lack of understanding of what Singaporean food is in India.
The FIFI will help to organise workshops so Singaporean manufacturers can understand Indian consumers, and also share how they can sell and promote their food products there. They will also help to facilitate visits to stores and organise meetings with the retailers there, said Jimmy Soh, deputy vice president, SFMA.
Amit Lohani, founder and director of FIFI said that the idea of the MOU is to promote Singaporean food to India and give consumers there better choices. “We have a free trade agreement with Singapore that would help us bring products at a much lower cost to consumers.”