Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy, with a gross domestic product (GDP) valued at USD 1.11 trillion in 2019. It has the fourth-largest population globally and the eighth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.
Annual grocery retail sales exceed USD 100 billion, supported by its large population, growth in disposable household income, an expanding middle-class and expansion of grocery and convenience stores.
While the market presents ample opportunities for businesses, companies should be aware of the need to obtain different permits and registering products with the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM).
Overview of Product registration
Registration of products with BPOM ensures that the products comply with Indonesia’s safety, nutrition, quality, and labeling regulations. There are three types of registrations: new product registration, re-registration, and variation registration.
The local importer or distributor will usually assume the responsibility for registering the product and ensuring all requirements are met by the exporter or manufacturer.
BPOM has two types of registration procedures for processed food, depending on the product’s risk level, which is determined by a variety of factors, such as claims statement, target consumers, usage of food additives, and production processes.
- General service is applicable for high-risk products or food with nutritional claims such as food for a special diet, specific health conditions, pregnant women, additives, and flavoring. Before registering the product through an online system, applicants are required to provide physical copies of documents such as a free sale certificate (FSC) from a competent authority in the country of origin, a letter of appointment (LoA) from the exporter, and laboratory test results, among others. The process takes more than six months to complete.
- Rapid service is applicable for low-risk/common food products and additives. The registration process and requirements can be completed through the online system. It takes 4-6 months to get the final registration approval.
For horticultural products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, local importers must register the products with the Food Safety Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), as stated under MOA Regulation No. 53/2018 on Safety and Quality of Fresh Food of Plant Origin (FFPO). The exporter is required to submit a notice at https://notice.karantina.pertanian.go.id/ before the arrival of the products with information on the place and date of loading, arrival and destination, country of origin, packing unit, import purpose, product name, transportation type, quantity imported, and container’s identification number.
A plant phytosanitary certificate from the Country of Origin or Transit and Entry is compulsory for the four specified Indonesian ports of entry: Belawan seaport, Tanjung Perak seaport, Soekarno Hatta seaport, and Tanjung Priok seaport and Soekarno Hatta airport.
Meat and Poultry Products are regulated under MOA Regulation Number 42/2019. It permits meat and poultry establishments that are approved by MOA for export to the domestic market. For registering, a slaughterhouse will have to fill a questionnaire, which will have information on the required documents that need to be submitted. The questionnaire can be uploaded on http://kesmavet.ditjenpkh.pertanian.go.id/index.php/regulasi-2. The documents must be submitted to the Directorate of Veterinary Public Health (Direktorat Kesehatan Masyarakat Veteriner).
In Indonesia, Halal Certification is an important requirement to access the mass market for food and beverage products, as Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, with more than 85% of the population following Islam. According to a new regulation that came into effect in 2019, products distributed in the market must be labeled as Halal or Non-Halal by October 2024.
The Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), under the Ministry of Religious Affairs, oversees and implements the halal registration and certification system. The Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) and Lembaga Penjamin Halal (LPH) are also involved in the decision-making in all Halal applications. The law is in the process of being implemented as of mid-2021, and further clarifications are required around standards, requirements, costs and timeframes.
Onsite audits may be required as part of the certification process. The law provides for mutual recognition agreements between foreign Halal agencies and BPJPH. The current list maintained by the MUI can be accessed here: http://www.halalmui.org/images/stories/LSHLN%20LPPOM%20MUI.pdf. But even if the HCB is listed as among the approved bodies, there is still a possibility that MUI may request supporting documentation.
SNI or the Indonesian National Standard refers to standards established by Badan Standarisasi Nasional (National Standardization Agency). SNI certification is mandatory for certain products such as instant coffee and bottled water. The products intended to be distributed into Indonesia have to comply with SNI standards, where applicable, for imports to clear customs.
The process for SNI approval involves Factory Audit/Inspection and product test from an accredited domestic or foreign laboratory.
Registration of food products in Indonesia can be an onerous, time-consuming process. It is advised to partner with a local distributor that has experience in product registration and imports. A good distribution partner will also have an established network to disseminate the products through various sales channels in the country. Our highly experienced in-market trade consultants have helped more than 3,000 SMEs and MNCs find the right partners through a proven methodology.
Orissa International also provides market research services covering regulatory requirements for the import and sale of food & beverages in the country.
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