The F&B industry is one of the main sectors that enhances investment activities in the country.
Three aspects of industry have been set as main priorities: primary production through collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT); secondary production to ensure overall potential value chains are maximised; and supporting industries such as logistics and cold storage.
In ensuring consumer safety and healthy, the Brunei Darussalam Food Authority (BDFA) was established on January 1, 2021 as a regulatory and competent authority for food safety and quality. The authority also plays a role in regulating food importation, exportation, production, processing and transportation.
The BDFA regulates and ensures all exporting food business operators comply with food safety legislation and standards to facilitate foodrelated businesses in international trade. In addition, BDFA aims to serve as a single point of contact in food-related matters by consolidating the existing food related processes and catalyse the local food industry development to achieve international competitiveness.
BFBA provides assistance such as resolution of business licensing, the processing of the Halal certification, manpower supply and the supply of food ingredients.
The establishment of the Brunei Food and Beverage Association (BFBA) with support from the Brunei Association of Hotels (BAH) plays a role as a central platform for the local F&B community as well as related ministries and agencies in Brunei.
At the same time, BFBA also provides assistance such as resolution of business licensing, the processing of the Halal certification, manpower supply and the supply of food ingredients. In the first quarter of 2020, the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics reported that the value of food and beverage sales generated in Brunei was estimated at BND84.9 million.
Additionally, there is an estimated 3,000 registered eateries across Brunei including restaurants, food stalls and home-based business. The establishment of the association is timely in supporting the F&B industry during its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
BFBA works with other agencies and stakeholders within the Brunei tourism community, such as the MPRT, the BAH and the Association of Travel Agents Brunei. It is hoped that the establishment of the association will bring the F&B community together to work on mutual collaborations that will further develop food tourism across Brunei.
With the goal to promote and encourage the growth of Brunei F&B industry, the Brunei Food Awards (BFA) is the first-of-its-kind food accolade in Brunei to recognise and award the best dishes of both locals and international cuisine across the country. The BFA follows the EAT methodology established by the World Food Championship in the evaluation processes, covering three components of the dishes – executions, appearance and taste.
Last year’s Brunei Food Awards saw 225 restaurants participate, with over 400 dishes submitted for evaluation. Forty-six restaurants were awarded Best Dish Award 2021 as part of the Brunei December Festival 2021 to acknowledge the best food in each category across the Sultanate.
The year 2021 also saw the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award and the new Outstanding Person Award. The former recognises the restaurants’ contributions, while the former recognises an individual’s contributions to the F&B industry, the community and the country.
A notable development in the F&B industry is that of Royal Brunei Culinary (RBC), formerly known as Royal Brunei Catering Sdn Bhd. With the revamp and rebranding of new identity and logo, RBC reflects their commitment and vision in delivering the ‘Taste of Modern Brunei’ while its new logo signifies its culinary roots and deep ties to the local heritage.
RBC’s new state-of-the-art Central Kitchen combines and synergises its airline, healthcare and events catering kitchens as one holistic operation. On safety and hygiene, RBC Central Kitchen has the facility to offer Brunei’s largest HACCP and JCI-certified kitchen. At the same time, it ensures that the control of potential hazards in food production are in place, to the best of their abilities and within the guidelines. In addition to providing food solutions to the aviation and healthcare industry, major events and functions, RBC is also committed to supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing services such as outsourcing its kitchen and commissary services, competitive procurement of raw materials and the use of their test kitchen facilities and expertise.
Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd (Ghanim) is a government-linked company (GLC) striving to build and market the bruneihalalfoods brand to become the gateway to export locally produced food products to the international market.
Since its inception in 2009, Ghanim has worked with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to produce more than 100 unique products under the bruneihalalfoods brand that have been distributed to more than 300 local and international retail stores such as China and Singapore.
More recently, Ghanim launched The Junction Retail Entrepreneurship Programme in April 2021. With an initial outlay of three stores, this programme enables locals to own and operate convenience stores under Ghanim’s The Junction brand via a franchise model with the ultimate aim of providing employment opportunities for locals in the domestic retail market. This programme levels the playing field for locals in the retail sector as it leverages on Ghanim’s ability to procure at bulk and competitive pricing. Furthermore, The Junction provides an avenue for local MSME products to enter the market as it places an emphasis on the stock-keeping of local MSME products such as the bruneihalalfoods brand by Ghanim, ‘One Village, One Product’ range by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and products under DARE’s (Darussalam Enterprise) Bruneian-made initiative.
Copyright 2019 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2019 All rights reserved.