Singapore's bid to tackle the impacts of sugar hits the drinks industry

By Catherine Sturman
Rising levels of sugar in food and drink is becoming a global issue, impacting population health. Changing lifestyles and attitudes to food has also...

Rising levels of sugar in food and drink is becoming a global issue, impacting population health. Changing lifestyles and attitudes to food has also led to increased demand for sugary, fatty foods.

However, this is set to change. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is now targeting the drinks sector in the reduction of sugar content in its products by up to 12% by 2020. Seven companies have now agreed to the move, which will help improve population health, reduce calorie intake and ensure a reduction in chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Co, Nestle, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng have all agreed to reduce its sugar content Singapore production, which will also see the companies revise its existing processes, and long-term, drive further revenue growth by attracting health conscious buyers by producing beverages with reduced sugar content.

General Manager of Coca-Cola Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Cambodia Tony Del Rosario has said: “We’re offering more new drinks with low sugar content or no sugar added.

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We’re making smaller, more convenient packages available so managing sugar is easier. We’re giving people the information they need to make truly informed choices.”

Diabetes is becoming an increasing health concern within Singapore, where numbers have been steadily increasing at worrying levels. It has even recently led Hsien Loong to address the issue ithin the National Day rally.

The MOH has stated that 60% of the region’s total sugar intake comes from sugary beverages, where “Singaporeans, on average, consume more than 1,500 teaspoons of sugar from pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages annually,” according to an MOH spokesperson.

Companies will begin to use plant based alternatives which although will become more expensive to produce, will have long term benefits for consumers, rather than support the prevalence of chronic conditions.

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