Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year

As we approach the end of another successful year for FIA, I would like to thank you for contributing to a year of progress that has enabled us to lead real change for the industry.

It has certainly been a busy year. Across 21 events organised, we have engaged over 1,000 senior leaders in the food industry, multi-national companies and academia. What sets us apart is that we have used this role as convener to instigate real action and I'm very proud of what we've managed to achieve.

Click below for my recap of 2018 and the upcoming plans for 2019:

This year, we are proud to welcome Barilla, Beneo, Cosucra, GSK, IKEA and Tetra Pak to the FIA family, bringing us to a total of 40 members.
This is an incredible achievement and a testament to the fact that we are stronger together as a united industry.

We hosted our inaugural Food for the Future Summit in April. Bringing together 350 global leaders from the F&B industry, government agencies, civil society, academia, start-ups, investors and venture capital firms, it demonstrated how innovation is transforming and disrupting the food ecosystem in the context of Asia.

FIA entered a regional partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Ministries of Agriculture to collaborate on raising food safety standards and boost trade facilitation. We completed laboratory capacity building programmes with regulators and scientists to enhance testing standards. This and other projects will continue in 2019.

In June, we released a "Healthier Production Reformulation in Singapore" report in partnership with IGD, to provide insight into the reformulation landscape in Asia, starting with Singapore. This research will be extended to cover other markets in 2019 to help us collaborate with and support policymakers and regulators to encourage F&B innovation.

After many years of building relationships, we were very grateful to be invited by the ASEAN Working Group on Halal Food (AWGHF) to propose a mutual recognition framework for Halal Certification for the region. FIA and AFBA also had the opportunity to share the proposal with halal authorities such as JAKIM and BPJPH.

This year, FIA established Sustainability as its fourth pillar with a focus on sustainable packaging. In order to engage policymakers with evidence-based research, we completed the first comprehensive study across four Southeast Asian nations on tackling waste, identifying 31 policy levers. In the process, we attained accreditation with the United Nations Environment Assembly, the first, and only industry body in Asia to do so.

Our focus remains clear: to work with industry and collaborate with government and other stakeholders to promote a climate for sustainable growth while serving as a regional hub for science-based advocacy.

This underpins all our current work as well as exciting new work for 2019. FIA will be creating two new dedicated working groups to focus on ingredients and e-commerce as we begin to grow the membership of companies in these areas and tackle some of the big regulatory challenges as these industries grow rapidly.

Tied to this is FIA's new innovation platform to be launched in the first half of 2019 that will focus on future foods and trends such as alternative proteins, cellular agriculture, personalised nutrition, healthy aging and more.
This platform will be open to not only our existing members but also start-ups and SMEs that want to collaborate on the future of food in Asia and for Asia. This will be an exciting opportunity that we are sure will create uncommon collaborations.

But in order for food innovation to flourish, we need progressive regulatory frameworks. FIA also will be launching its regulatory data hub to support industry and regulators with information, analysis and best practices to ensure we collaboratively create future foods that are healthy, nutritious and sustainable.

And to ensure we manage how we communicate new and existing foods and ingredients to stakeholders and consumers, FIA will launch a Food Risk Communications toolkit. We are already talking to governments as to how this will support with improving consumer trust with regards to food safety.

It has been a great 2018 and we look forward to your continued engagement and support in 2019, as FIA makes strides towards achieving even greater success.

On behalf of FIA, I send you my warmest wishes for the holiday season and a wonderful New Year filled with happiness and good health.

Best regards,

Matt Kovac
Executive Director
Food Industry Asia

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