Resorts World Sentosa goes big on supporting local produce

The resort shares why and how it sources for local produce.

(from left) RWS’ Lee Shi Ruh, Tan Hee Teck and Loh Su Kim: receiving the highest tier certification of the Farm-to-Table Recognition Programme.
(from left) RWS’ Lee Shi Ruh, Tan Hee Teck and Loh Su Kim: receiving the highest tier certification of the Farm-to-Table Recognition Programme. Photo Credit: RWS

Singapore’s food supply chain is highly susceptible to global disruptions, geopolitical tensions, and price fluctuations. Such concerns underscore the importance of locally sourced produce and have received heavy media attention in recent years, especially with the onset of COVID-19.

To mitigate food supply disruption risks, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has been working closely with the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) which represents the collective voice of 160 member hotels. Together with associations in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering (HoReCa) industry, they have sought to recognise and encourage food businesses in this sector that support local produce. 

One such means is through the Farm-to-Table (FTT) Recognition Programme which was launched in March 2023, to encourage demand for local produce from both the HoReCa sector and consumers.

Margaret Heng, executive director, SHA, said: “We are pleased to note that the number of hotels has increased from four to six over the past five months. These forerunners in Farm-to-Table certification are Four Seasons Hotel Singapore; ONE⁰15 Marina Club, Sentosa Cove; Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS); Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa; voco Orchard Singapore; and W Singapore – Sentosa Cove.”

Singapore Hotel Association’s Margaret Heng.
Singapore Hotel Association’s Margaret Heng. Photo Credit: SHA

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS)

M&C Asia spoke to the biggest player among these winners, RWS’s Loh Su Kim, senior VP, Attractions and Sustainability. She said: “Today, we procure more than 45 tonnes of local produce annually. More than 95% of our eggs, as well as a significant percentage of leafy vegetables, sprouts, and marine produce are sourced locally.

“We believe in ‘buy local’ to support our local farms, our own community and our economy. It is also more sustainable as it reduces CO2 emissions from food transportation. The fewer steps between the produce purchased and to the table mean less of a chance of spoilage, expiration and other issues.

“Our emphasis on sustainability goes beyond supporting local suppliers. We cultivate a range of premium herbs, including kaffir lime, bilimbi, basil leaf, and mint leaf. This not only helps to ensure a steady supply of essential ingredients but underlines RWS' commitment to environmentally responsible practices.”

Security during the pandemic

The resorts’ actions have helped it to overcome supply chain challenges. “During the height of the pandemic, when cross-border restrictions posed significant challenges, we were able to ensure uninterrupted access to premium, fresh produce sourced from local farms, allowing us to maintain the highest quality standards for our valued guests,” said Loh.

“As a major pillar of Singapore's tourism industry, we recognise the significant role we can play to create a positive socio-economic impact on the local industry and community. With a ‘local first’ policy that focuses on supporting local SMEs, we make concerted efforts to work collaboratively with local farmers and fisheries to foster a resilient and inclusive ecosystem, forging mutually beneficial relationships.

“We have come a long way since, building on each partnership with due considerations to these key principles of food safety, reliability of supply, evolving food trends, seasonality, perishability and sustainability.”

An example to follow

Loh shared that any hotel or business desiring to buy local must give thought to such considerations relevant to their business or operation. She added: “Taking that first step may seem daunting but this journey can be rewarding. Increasingly, travellers are opting for authentic experiences that support the local community and choosing to leave a positive impact on the places they visit. By integrating the bounty of Singapore's lands and seas into their culinary offerings, businesses can fulfil the aspirations of the new age eco-travellers. This, in turn, can help to drive the long-term success of their businesses, and create an enduring impact for the environment and community that they operate in.”

The local farming scene

Loh noted that over the years, she has observed a commendable enhancement in capabilities among local farmers, driven by their adoption of modern technologies, sustainable farming practices, and improved resource management. “Notably, many local farms are adopting eco-friendly farming methods, such as organic cultivation, regenerative agriculture, and reduced water usage. This shift towards sustainability aligns well with RWS’ goals, making it easier for us to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

“In addition, we are pleased to see a greater focus on the diversification of produce offerings among local farmers. This will enhance the range of locally grown ingredients or farmed options made available to us, enriching the culinary experiences we can offer to our guests.”