The beverage giant has affirmed its focus on local talent and skills development, while aiming to strengthen Singapore's position as a key test market for new product launches.
Ready-to-drink beverage maker POKKA has announced plans to revamp its existing regional headquarters in Singapore, currently a single-storey warehouse, into a five-storey state-of-the-art building (envisioned in the photo above) expected to be ready by Q1 2024.
Construction of the facility has already commenced as of April 2022. The new premises is expected to house an innovation and incubation hub, as well as be fitted with best-in-class technology, sustainable features, and other innovation facilities that "will take the company into the next decade and beyond", per the statement.
POKKA in Singapore completes 45 years in the nation, set up in 1977 as a subsidiary of Japan-based POKKA Sapporo Food and Beverages. The existing building, located at 4 Benoi Crescent, has been in operation for over 30 years.
The project, which is a collaboration with real asset manager ESR and PGIM, the asset management business of Prudential Financial, INC, saw the ground-breaking ceremony being overseen by Minister of State, Low Yen Ling.
On the occasion, Rex Macaskill, Group CEO of POKKA, said: "We are excited and look forward to the new facility with cutting-edge R&D and office which will provide us with the expanded scale, modern specifications and sustainability features to support our growth and expansion into the future."
Aligned with the increasing consumer demand for healthier options, heading into the future, POKKA is expected to focus on health and wellness products, evolving from ready-to-drink options to nutraceutical (health) beverages, and potentially growing its food product range.
Augmenting the scope and depth of its R&D activities
One of main objectives for the new facility is to strengthen Singapore's position as a key test market for new product launches (outside of Japan) before they roll out to the rest of the region. To this effect, the company is looking to bring the following initiatives to life:
- Significantly grow its product mandate in Singapore by augmenting the scope and depth of its R&D activities, including research, new product development and market testing.
- Focus on food innovation and the use of healthy, natural ingredients to cater to the increasingly sophisticated consumer taste, as well as health awareness.
- Focus on local talent and skills development, providing collaboration opportunities with food-science entrepreneurs in product development and testing.
Sustainability in business operations
Another key focus of this new project is to adopt sustainability features through technology, including in building features, manufacturing facilities and equipment, distribution and logistics, the adoption of new processes, and bottling materials. The building itself is designed to eventually achieve a zero-carbon footprint, with its solar power rooftop and solar power plant that will provide sufficient clean power to fully support the businesses’ logistics needs, with the aspiration to be a model for sustainable logistics in Singapore.
On the manufacturing front, new technologies will enable the use of up to 30% less plastic in bottles. To date, the new aseptic line has improved productivity and production capacity by 20%, at the same time saving energy and water usage by 13%.
On the launch occasion, the POKKA team expressed appreciation for its long-standing partnership with the EDB. "This partnership, together with Singapore’s strategic geographic location and its importance as a business and logistics hub, has played a part in the growth and success of POKKA Singapore today, a key player in the beverage industry with a presence in over 50 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Europe."
EDB's Vice President, Fong Pin Fen, added: "POKKA’s new innovation and logistics set-up is the latest investment into its international headquarters in Singapore, which has been growing over the decades.
"We are confident that Singapore will continue to serve as a critical base for food and beverage companies like Pokka to level up their R&D, supply chain and manufacturing functions to access Asian and global markets, and capture new opportunities in health and wellness."
Photo / EDB