Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has entered into a research agreement with Nestle to help boost the company's expansion in R&D in the country.
This agreement signed by the two organizations will set the stage for cutting-edge research in areas including packaged food and beverages, food ingredients, nutrition, food manufacturing processes, food science and technology, as well as biotransformation.
The framework research agreement will bring together both partners' capabilities and expertise in a range of advanced technologies and research fields that will help Nestle to optimize its production processes and to provide nutritional foods for Nestle's consumers.
A*STAR has been developing research capabilities in food and nutrition as one of its five strategic research priorities in the biomedical sciences. This partnership will thus also boost A*STAR's capabilities as the research collaborator of choice in Asia for the global food and nutrition industry.
As Asian consumers become more educated and affluent, many food and nutrition companies like Nestle are responding by developing food, health and wellness products customized for Asian markets. In four years, Singapore's total manufacturing output for the food manufacturing sector increased from S$5.7 billion in 2007 to S$8.4 billion in 2011, while the value-added manufacturing output almost doubled from S$1.2 billion to S$2.1 billion. The number of workers employed in food manufacturing also increased 20 per cent over the same time period.
The agreement, which involves the participation of all 18 A*STAR research entities, will provide opportunities for researchers across A*STAR to embark on collaborations with Nestle's affiliates globally.
A*STAR recently launched a joint centre with National University of Singapore (NUS) - Singapore Centre for Nutritional Sciences, Metabolic Diseases, and Human Development (SiNMeD) - to advance research on nutrition, early development and metabolic disease. This agreement will also allow Nestle access to A*STAR's research facilities and technology.
Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*STAR said, "A*STAR is looking forward to this excellent opportunity to broaden and deepen the work that we do with the world's leading food and nutrition company to expand their R&D capabilities in Singapore. This agreement marks a significant milestone in propelling forward A*STAR's research thrust into food and nutrition."
Stefan Catsicas, Nestle Chief Technology Officer, Head of Innovation, Technology, Research & Development said, "We are delighted to sign this research agreement with A*STAR. It provides the framework for future collaboration that will help to strengthen our food science and technology capabilities in Singapore and beyond."
A*STAR has also previously embarked on research projects with Nestle through the EpiGen consortium, to understand optimal nutrition for mothers during pregnancy and for infants to promote metabolic health throughout life.