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After a more than two-year hiatus, the APO broke through the pandemic barrier and resumed in-person activities with the visit of a delegation from Singapore to Thailand. The 12-member delegation was led by the Singapore Productivity Centre under the APO’s Individual-country Observational Study Mission (IOSM) Program, one of the flagships of the In-country Support Program.
The topic was “Food Innovation.” The COVID-19 pandemic caused a marked decline in Singapore’s food and beverage sector, especially catering, due to restrictions on events and large gatherings. Caterers are recreating new business models that include food manufacturing and innovation and ready-to-eat/ready-to-cook (RTE/RTC) products to stay in business and ensure sustainability. RTE/RTC food has emerged as a practical alternative to home-cooked meals.
In Bangkok from 23 to 27 May, the delegates studied best practices, technologies, policies, standards, and innovations in RTE/RTC production. They visited Thaifex-Anuga Asia 2022 to examine new equipment, technology, and ingredients and met potential suppliers. They also observed firsthand Thailand’s food industry sustainability practices as demonstrated by Dairy Home and received briefings on food innovation policies and testing standards recently introduced by Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency.
The APO’s first face-to-face mission after a two-year shift to the virtual modality went smoothly and opened the prospects for a full resumption in the near future.