Market Overview – Singapore

February 2019

Market snapshot

Singapore has a population of 5.7 million and a total gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$297 billion. It is the ninth-largest economy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Singapore is strategically situated at the crossroads of major air and sea routes within the Asia-Pacific region, and is a major transshipment centre for much of the Southeast Asian region and the Indian subcontinent. This strategic location also contributes to Singapore's position as a regional food showcase and headquarters for international food and agricultural companies.

Singapore has a large, wealthy middle and upper middle class. The market is mainly driven by the rising cost of groceries, increased by a growing interest among the middle class in home cooking. Also, Singaporeans are buying more premium product grocery products more often. Major consumer-oriented food imports include dairy products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, snack foods and processed fruits and vegetables.

Packaged food sales were valued at US$2.5 billion in 2018, and are anticipated to reach US$3 billion by 2023.

Singaporean consumers are well known for placing great importance on consuming safe, high-quality food, and they perceive Canada as a country that produces food with these characteristics. If Canadian exporters are able to meet the stringent conditions to export to Singapore, this also resonates well with other markets in Asia.

Production

As Singapore has virtually no crop or livestock production, practically all food ingredients are imported from a wide range of countries worldwide. Having very little agricultural land and limited domestic food production, Singapore currently imports almost all of the food it needs to feed its residents and the 17.4 million tourists that visited Singapore in 2017, which is over three times its population. The country's limited agricultural output is made up mostly of vegetables, poultry and eggs.

Crop production and livestock in Singapore – Top 10 crops (tonnes)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Vegetables, fresh 20,795 21,141 22,132 22,504 21,817
Spinach 2,013 2,045 2,078 2,063 2,081
Cabbages and other brassicas 632 621 629 643 659
Lettuce and chicory 502 515 456 439 546
Coconuts 150 160 130 99 94
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization – Statistics Division (FAOSTAT), 2018
Crop production and livestock in Singapore – Poultry and eggs ('000)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Eggs, hen, in shell ('1000) 438,800 477,600 463,800 459,820 493,350
Eggs, other bird, in shell ('1000) 80,000 80,000 80,000 78,976 80,000
Meat, chicken (tonnes) 92.2 94.1 90.0 79.0 95.5
Source: FAOSTAT, 2018
Crop production and livestock in Singapore – Live animals (1,000 head)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Chickens 3,500 3,500 3,500 3,534 3,650
Ducks 755 750 750 776 802
Pigs 272 272 270 269.6 274.0
Source: FAOSTAT, 2018

Trade

Singapore is a net importer of agri-food and seafood products. In 2017, Singapore's agri-food and seafood trade deficit was US$3 billion, with imports valued at US$13.0 billion and exports of US$10.0 billion. Singapore's agri-food and seafood imports declined at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 1.0% between 2013 and 2017. Singapore's geographic location has contributed to its position as an important hub for regional headquarters of international food and agricultural companies. A major part of the freight passing through Singapore is redirected to neighbouring countries. There are no import tariffs or excise taxes on any foods and beverages, except for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, while a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 7% is levied on all goods and services at the point of distribution.

Canada currently accounts for less than a 1% of Singapore's total agri-food imports and is Singapore's 18th-largest import source. Singapore's agri-food and seafood imports from Canada were valued at US$124.8 million in 2017 and grew at a CAGR of 7.1% between 2013 and 2017.

Singapore's Top 10 agri-food and seafood suppliers, value in US$ million, 2013-2017
Partner country 2013 2017 Market Share % (2013) Market Share % (2017) CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 13,580.2 13,042.9 100.0 100.0 -1.0
Malaysia 2,225.0 1,979.7 16.4 15.2 −2.9
France 1,455.4 1,388.1 10.7 10.6 −1.2
China 988.9 1,065.5 7.3 8.2 1.9
Australia 822.7 1,007.8 6.1 7.7 5.2
United States 944.5 1,007.0 7.0 7.7 1.6
Indonesia 1,164.6 922.9 8.6 7.1 −5.6
United Kingdom 842.2 691.8 6.2 5.3 −4.8
Thailand 655.6 573.0 4.8 4.4 −3.3
New Zealand 538.0 500.3 4.0 3.8 −1.8
Brazil 433.7 425.2 3.2 3.3 −0.5
Canada (18th) 94.9 124.8 0.7 0.9 7.1

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Singapore's Top 10 agri-food and seafood export markets, value in US$ million, 2013-2017
Partner country 2013 2017 Market Share % (2013) Market Share % (2017) CAGR* % 2013-2017
World 10,071.5 10,016.9 100.0 100.0 −0.1
Vietnam 925.0 1,398.4 9.2 14.0 10.9
Malaysia 1,478.4 1,098.5 14.7 11.0 −7.2
Australia 837.5 869.3 8.3 8.7 0.9
Thailand 598.3 820.2 5.9 8.2 8.2
Japan 877.0 802.9 8.7 8.0 −2.2
Indonesia 767.3 676.8 7.6 6.8 −3.1
China 921.2 610.1 9.2 6.1 −9.8
Philippines 413.4 481.3 4.1 4.8 3.9
Hong Kong 453.9 457.9 4.51 4.6 0.2
Taiwan 393.3 379.7 3.9 3.8 −0.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Singapore's top agri-food and seafood imports in 2017 were cigarettes, spirits, whiskies, tallow of bovine animals (sheep or goats) and food preparations. Key supplying countries were Malaysia, France, China, Australia and the United States. Canada was Singapore's 18th-largest supplier of total agri-food and seafood products in 2017, worth US$124.8 million, which amounts to a 0.9% share.

As Singapore is virtually a free port (except for tobacco, alcohol, vehicles and gasoline), the only tangible benefit of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) for the agri-food sector is that Canadian beer will be exempt from a $16/litre alcohol tariff. However, consumers still pay the cost of an excise tax.

A permit from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is required for the importation of meat products into Singapore. Meat products are subject to microbiological testing upon arrival in Singapore. Under the CPTPP, only raw beef cuts are still permitted from cattle under 30 months for bone-in, and all ages for boneless.

Singapore's top agri-food and seafood import commodities from the world in 2017
Commodity Import value US$ million Top suppliers and market share % Canada's share %
1 2 3
Cigarettes 786.4 China, 30 Indonesia, 23.4 Vietnam, 8 0.0
Spirits 752.8 France, 96.8 United Kingdom, 2.21 China, 0.21 0.0
Whiskies 605.7 United Kingdom, 86.28 United States, 4.72 France, 3.41 0.13
Tallow of bovine animals, sheep or goats 440.4 Australia, 46.8 United States, 21.4 New Zealand, 18 9.6
Food preparations, n.e.s. 364.9 United States, 28.9 Malaysia, 11.6 China, 8.5 1.4
Sparkling wine 346.8 France, 97.6 Italy, 1.1 Australia, 0.4 0.0
Wine 232.9 France, 39 Australia, 24 United States, 7.5 0.3
Frozen meat of swine 209.9 Brazil, 45.8 Netherlands, 20.1 Spain, 13.2 3.6
Semi-milled or wholly milled rice 196.6 Thailand, 44.2 India, 28.1 Vietnam, 19.1 0.0
Frozen cuts and edible offal 196.5 Brazil, 79.5 United States, 12.7 China, 3.1 0.0
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

Retail sales

Packaged food in Singapore recorded stable year-on-year retail value growth from 2014 to 2018 and it is expected to continue over the forecast period (2019-2023). Retail sales were valued at US$2.5 billion in 2018, with a CAGR of 3.2% from 2014 to 2018. By the year 2023, retail sales are expected to reach US$3.0 billion, registering a stronger growth rate of 3.5%.

Snack category products are expected to see the most significant sales growth in the packaged food sector over the 2019-2023 forecast period. Increased spending power and more sophisticated preferences are driving demand for more premium products within this category, such as sweet biscuits, ice creams and confectioneries. During the forecast period, many packaged food categories are reaching maturity, such as ready meals and processed fruit and vegetables.

Packaged food retail sales in Singapore
Historic in US$ million, fixed 2018 exchange rate
Category 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018[e] CAGR* % 2014-2018
Packaged food 2,228.6 2,310.1 2,372.4 2,456.2 2,527.9 3.2
Edible oils 58.3 59.8 61.1 62.7 64.5 2.6
Ready meals 32.7 33.2 33.4 34.2 34.4 1.3
Sauces, dressings and condiments 76.8 78.6 80.1 82.1 84.4 2.4
Soup 12.0 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.6 1.2
Sweet spreads 44.9 48.1 50.2 51.7 53.3 4.4
Baby food 163.1 165.0 166.2 166.5 167.5 0.7
Butter and spreads 23.7 24.5 25.8 27.1 28.4 4.6
Cheese 44.6 46.5 47.9 49.5 52.7 4.3
Drinking milk products 178.2 188.0 193.0 197.5 200.8 3.0
Yogourt and sour milk products 101.3 106.7 113.2 118.9 123.0 5.0
Other dairy 21.9 22.3 22.3 22.2 22.0 0.1
Confectionery 227.4 238.4 248.0 257.5 265.0 3.9
Ice cream and frozen desserts 84.8 88.7 91.3 94.6 97.7 3.6
Savoury snacks 148.2 158.5 169.1 177.8 182.5 5.3
Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 136.3 141.7 144.8 148.2 151.6 2.7
Baked goods 291.1 304.9 315.5 327.9 341.9 4.1
Breakfast cereals 36.4 37.7 38.7 39.8 40.9 3.0
Processed fruit and vegetables 18.6 18.9 18.9 19.0 19.1 0.7
Processed meat and seafood 206.5 211.5 215.5 220.1 225.7 2.2
Rice, pasta and noodles 321.9 324.9 324.9 346.4 359.9 2.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

e: Estimated

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Packaged food retail sales in Singapore
Forecast in US$ million, fixed 2018 exchange rate
Category 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 CAGR* % 2019-2023
Packaged food 2,616.3 2,708.3 2,802.4 2,899.6 2,999.8 3.5
Edible oils 66.6 68.8 71.2 73.8 76.5 3.5
Ready meals 34.7 34.9 35.1 35.2 35.3 0.4
Sauces, dressings and condiments 87.2 90.0 93.0 96.0 99.2 3.3
Soup 12.8 13.0 13.3 13.5 13.8 1.9
Sweet spreads 54.9 56.9 59.0 61.2 63.7 3.8
Baby food 169.6 172.0 174.7 177.7 181.2 1.7
Butter and spreads 29.3 30.4 31.5 32.7 34.0 3.8
Cheese 54.8 57.0 59.3 61.7 64.2 4.0
Drinking milk products 207.9 215.2 222.6 230.0 237.4 3.4
Yogourt and sour milk products 125.8 128.6 131.3 133.9 136.3 2.0
Other dairy 22.0 22.0 22.0 22.0 22.1 0.1
Confectionery 278.2 292.0 306.2 320.8 335.7 4.8
Ice cream and frozen desserts 103.1 108.6 114.3 120.3 126.7 5.3
Savoury snacks 190.5 198.5 206.4 214.2 221.9 3.9
Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 157.9 164.9 172.2 179.5 186.6 4.3
Baked goods 356.1 371.4 387.5 404.7 423.0 4.4
Breakfast cereals 42.1 43.3 44.5 45.7 46.9 2.7
Processed fruit and vegetables 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.7 0.6
Processed meat and seafood 231.4 237.4 243.9 250.7 257.9 2.7
Rice, pasta and noodles 372.2 384.0 395.2 406.5 417.7 2.9

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Health and wellness food products

Consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious as a result of rising health awareness. This has led to higher demand for health and wellness variants, particularly free-from and naturally healthy products. The health and wellness sector grew by a CAGR of 1.7% from 2014 to 2018 and is expected to grow by a CAGR of 3.2% over the 2019-2023 period.

As highlighted by Singapore's Prime Minister at the 2017 National Day Rally, diabetes is a major problem in Singapore. It has the second-highest level of diabetes among developed countries, after the US. The leading causes of diabetes among Singaporeans are a lack of exercise, coupled with high consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white rice and white bread. As a result, manufacturers are expected to launch healthier variants and trendy flavours to entice consumers and boost sales over the forecast period, such as whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, whole-grain instant noodles and mixed grain rice.

Health and wellness food product retail sales in Singapore
Historic in US$ million, fixed 2017 exchange rate
Category 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018
Health and wellness by type 968.4 1,001.2 1,028.2 1,027.4 1,035.1 1.7
Better for you 75.7 77.5 78.8 79.4 79.4 1.2
Fortified/functional 534.8 546.4 553.3 543.0 540.7 0.3
Free from 92.7 96.9 101.2 105.5 110.0 4.4
Naturally healthy 254.8 269.5 283.6 287.8 292.6 3.5
Organic 10.4 10.9 11.3 11.7 12.3 4.3

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Health and wellness food product retail sales in Singapore
Forecast in US$ million, fixed 2018 exchange rate
Category 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 CAGR* % 2019-2023
Health and wellness by type 1,061.8 1,093.2 1,128.2 1,165.2 1,204.3 3.2
Better for you 80.5 82.0 83.8 85.9 88.2 2.3
Fortified/functional 551.5 564.4 578.8 593.9 609.8 2.5
Free from 114.5 119.3 124.4 129.8 135.6 4.3
Naturally healthy 302.5 314.1 327.3 341.2 355.7 4.1
Organic 12.8 13.3 13.8 14.4 14.9 3.9

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Opportunities for Canada

On March 8, 2018, Canada signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The CPTPP represents a significant step toward closer trade and investment between Canada and Singapore. Significant indirect gains are possible for Canadian producers, as Singapore being regarded as a hub and trendsetter for ASEAN may have some indirect benefits.

The CPTPP Agreement, along with NAFTA and free trade agreements with the European Union (CETA) and South Korea (CKFTA), will make Canada the only G7 nation with free trade access to the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

All Canadian provinces and territories are expected to benefit from the CPTPP.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

Resources

Market overview – Singapore
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: François Thériault, International Market Research Analyst

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