SINGAPORE – French plant-based ingredients maker Roquette has opened a regional headquarters and a research centre in Singapore as it steps up its focus on Asian growth.

Roquette said its over 1,100 square metres new innovation centre at Biopolis will allow the company to partner with customers, universities and research institutions, such as Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*star) or the National University of Singapore.

According to the company, its state-of-the-art facilities, which include a research laboratory, customer technical services as well as the new regional headquarters, will allow the company to tailor its products and address the specific health and dietary challenges of the region such as obesity or diabetes.

“As a global business leader, we know that we need to adapt our solutions to the specific needs of the different markets.

By expanding our international research capability, we can ensure our products contribute to improving health and well-being of millions of consumers around the world.

Our facilities in Singapore will allow us to explore new ways to address specific health and nutrition needs of Asian customers and consumers through plant-based ingredients such as sugar alternatives, vegetal proteins or pharmaceutical excipients, among many others,” said Jean-Marc Gilson, CEO of Roquette.

A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh noted at the opening that Singapore is home to the R&D centres of some of the world’s largest food, nutrition and pharmaceutical companies like Nestle.

“Having developed a strong base of public R&D capabilities and infrastructure, Singapore is currently home to the R&D centres of some of the world’s largest food, nutrition and pharmaceutical companies to drive innovation for Asia and beyond.

The strategic expansion by leading companies like Roquette is testament to Singapore’s reputation as a world class Research, Innovation and Enterprise hub and A*STAR’s strategy of public-private partnerships under the Open Innovation Framework to create value and good jobs in Singapore,” said Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*Star.

According to StraitsTimes, Mr Lim also announced tie-ups between Roquette and A*Star’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute and Clinical Nutrition Research Centre to look at issues such as how different Asian populations react to certain dietary ingredients.

Mr Gilson said Roquette plans to follow up the expansion in Singapore with acquisitions and new factories as it expands further in Asia to tap rising demand for nutrition products from a growing middle class.

The company is targeting 10 per cent annual growth in Asia, faster than elsewhere, he added. Asia already generates a quarter of Roquette’s annual sales of about US$5.14 billion.

The family-owned firm has already announced this year plans to develop the world’s largest pea protein factory in Canada and a deal to acquire pharmaceutical tablet maker Itacel in Brazil.