15 June 17 The Business Times by WONG SHIYING
FERRERO, the maker of Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates, opened its first Asian innovation centre in Singapore on Wednesday.
The centre, which was set up in collaboration with the Economic Development Board (EDB), is designed to strengthen Ferrero's position as a global innovation leader and will house several strategic innovation functions in the areas of health and nutrition, new raw materials and product development, consumer insight and foresight activities, said Ferrero in a statement.
Located at the Singapore Science Park, the centre is run by a multidisciplinary team of specialists in food science, biotechnology, consumer insights, material science and design.
Giovanni Ferrero, the company's chief executive, said: "Innovation has always been a core value for Ferrero. Our products are the result of a strong passion for quality and research. The Singapore innovation centre will support Ferrero in its continuous pursuit of cutting-edge technological solutions to offer our consumers the best quality products that provide new taste dimensions."
The decision to locate the innovation centre in Singapore was motivated by its strategic location in Asia and its prominent role within the global scientific research community, said the Italian confectioner in a statement.
The opening of Ferrero's innovation centre comes in the wake of a growing number of confectionary companies scaling up their operations here. In October last year, Zurich-based chocolate giant Barry Callebaut invested US$18 million to expand its manufacturing facility in Singapore. Also jumping on the bandwagon is American snack company Mondelez, which invested S$10 million in September last year to build a research centre in Jurong that develops chocolate and gum products.
With strict food hygiene standards that inspire customer trust, reliable infrastructure and an easy access to regional markets, it comes as no surprise that the little red dot is fast becoming the region's confectionary hub.
EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin said: "Ferrero's decision to establish its first global innovation centre in Asia in Singapore reflects the significance of the rapidly expanding consumer markets in Asia, and underscores Singapore's position as the region's leading food and nutrition hub. We look forward to having Ferrero work with partners in Singapore to develop unique product offerings."