All of us, in some form or another, avail of different food and beverage services, whether we’re aware of them.
It’s the delivery rider bringing meals to our doors.
It’s when we open our smartphones and order our first meal of the day.
Food and beverage services are all around us – and we often take them for granted.
But what exactly is the importance of the food and beverage industry? How has it transformed every waking moment of our lives to an extent we’re dependent on it almost daily?
This guide discusses everything there is to know about the food and beverage sector, a short history lesson, and more. Let’s get right into it.
1. What Is The Food And Beverage Industry?
Food and beverage services refer to everything that involves transforming raw agricultural products into consumer food products.
The food and beverage supply chain depends on food processing, distribution, and packaging. The industry does not cover raw food production, which is more relevant to agriculture.
By this definition, food and beverage services are found in:
- Coffee shops
- Restaurant chains
- Fast food outlets
- Food manufacturing operations
- Food trucks
- Food transportation services
The goal of food and beverage businesses and processes is to provide high-quality food and drinks to customers through exceptional food preparation, with hygiene and customer satisfaction in mind.
2. History Of The Food And Beverage Industry
What we know of the food and beverage service sector today is slightly different from how it was in the past.
Technological advances and compliance regulations have vastly changed the common folk’s experience of food and beverage services.
But, the food and beverage industry (or at least an idea of it) has been existing ever since time immemorial. It wasn’t until major developments in the 19th century that drastically altered food processing.
Nicholas Appert’s invention of canning food and Louis Pasteur’s pasteurisation inevitably made food commercially available. Food services were refined to include safety standards and other practices regarding food safety.
Later on in the 1960s, restaurants, diners, eateries, etc., still didn’t have a concept of keeping a food inventory.
Cooks prepared food menu items using limited stocks, displayed these on the shelves, and served customers until everything had been exhausted.
Customers who came in early had access to hot and freshly prepared meals, while those who came in late were left to feast on stale, cold food.
Restaurateurs or mess keepers had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. Customers were left with very little choice but to eat what was served to them.
The method of cooking during those days didn’t vary much. The common folk could afford to cook only with coal or firewood. Meanwhile, restaurant and hotel guests were privileged to eat meals prepared through gas-powered stoves.
3. The Food And Beverage Industry In Singapore
Many food and beverage developments found their humble beginnings at the height of World War II. Food rationing and pricing were implemented.
The need to secure ample food supplies for soldiers in the trenches also paved the way for developing flavouring ingredients and instant food packaging.
These were significant developments in the food and beverages industry. Before the Industrial Revolution, consumers largely depended on eating food and buying drinks from their local markets.
Closer to home, Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965 marked the beginning of modern food and beverage services in the city-state.
Local food manufacturers were primarily domestically-oriented. SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and family-run restaurants were the norms.
As industrialisation soon spread over the city, these food businesses started focusing on having more manpower. This led to the building of factories which significantly sped up food production.
As demand kept up, these same businesses found it challenging to keep up with foreign competitors. Existing equipment and food and beverage methodologies like processing and packaging proved inadequate in meeting customer demands.
Only a few local companies had the capital to expand their food and beverage service overseas. But most local establishments were hampered by high start-up costs, operating expenses, labour, utilities, etc.
Another pressing issue was that fewer locals then did not aspire to find employment in the food and beverage industry, as they thought it had no future.
Food and beverage associations and government-backed initiatives were introduced to quell these issues and continue the development of an otherwise burgeoning industry.
The Economic Development Board in Singapore was formed in 1961 to support the food and beverage industry.
Another agency, the Singapore Food Manufacturing Association (SFMA), supported food manufacturing businesses and helped them expand locally.
Other more government-supported initiatives and support from private agencies slowly defined modern Singaporean’s experience of the food and beverage industry.
What was thought to be a “sunset industry” is now valued at $13.55 billion (in SGD). It is projected to grow annually by 1.99% over five years.
4. Why Is The Food And Beverage Sector Important?
On a consumer-oriented scale, the food and beverage industry is important because food is part of their many basic needs.
The food and beverage sector must continually meet those needs and offer employment opportunities for people who want to work in the industry.
People who live in cities, and work in different jobs, such as education, business, hospitality, etc., rely on food service for safely prepared meals that comply with national and domestic standards.
5. Who Are Part Of The Food And Beverage Industry?
Food and beverage operations vary depending on the style, size, location, and target market.
From a local hawker centre selling affordable char kway teow to an upscale fine dining restaurant right smack in the middle of the city, all of these fall under the food and beverage umbrella.
There are different classifications of the food and beverage sector. Understanding them and their role in the industry is vital in cultivating our appreciation for them.
We’ll discuss these two major classifications: the secondary catering and commercial sectors.
Secondary catering involves food and beverage outlets serving food as secondary to their operations. Food and beverage provision isn’t a primary activity but rather a support or secondary activity.
Some examples include hotels and accommodations, hospitals, airlines, outdoor, retail, club catering, etc.
Unlike the secondary catering sector, commercial food sectors mainly profit from selling and providing various food products and services.
Some examples include:
- Steak houses
- Fine dining restaurants
- Fast food chains
- Restaurant chains
- Local restaurants
- Cloud kitchens
- Specialty restaurants
- Hawker centres
Conclusion About The Importance Of The Food And Beverages Industry
All sectors in food and beverage have a crucial role in providing quality meals to all of us.
What was initially a budding industry many Singaporeans thought to be unprofitable eventually became one of the most crucial drivers to economic success. Singapore also earned the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on 16 Dec 2020 for our Hawker Culture!
There’s no doubt that the food and beverage market will remain robust. Thanks to the rise of new technologies, like online ordering platforms, cloud kitchens, and other innovations, the industry is poised for a profitable future.
For more information on how you can start to digitalise your business in the food and beverage industry, contact NinjaOS. We offer a comprehensive and robust food ordering system in Singapore at 0% commission fees, guaranteed, so you can scale and supercharge your business your way.
Frequently Asked Questions About
Food And Beverage Industry
What Is The Importance Of The Beverage Service Industry?
The beverages sector provides different types of processed drinks to millions of people globally. Different beverages, from packed milk cartons to canned coffee beans, gross billions of dollars in revenue annually.
What Are The Objectives Of Food And Beverage Service?
Here are some objectives of the food and beverage industry:
- To provide high-quality food and drinks
- To provide safely prepared food and drinks
- To provide customers with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere
- To provide food profitable for businesses
Why Is It Important To Understand Food And Beverage Trends?
Understanding food and beverage trends is vital for industry players (restaurateurs, catering business owners, etc.), as these trends give them an idea of customer preferences and behaviours towards food products and services.
How Important Is The Food Service Industry In A Country’s Economy?
Foodservice players consistently make valuable contributions to any country’s economy. Food and beverage businesses pay taxes which allow the government to fund community services. Restaurant ventures, for example, also contribute to local and national economies.
Is The Food Industry A Good Business?
Yes. Food is one of the primary basic needs of human beings. Humans rely on food to survive and satisfy their hunger. Unlike other sectors like retail and fashion, most food and beverage products stand the test of time or don’t go out of trend.
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