Sugar content in drinks has been the major issue facing beverage firms. Hence, the seven major drink companies including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are planning to limit the sugar content in their drinks. The other companies which have agreed to reduce sugar are F&N Foods, Nestle, Yeo Hiap Seng, Pokka and Malaysia Dairy Industries. The companies will limit the sugar content in drinks they sell in Singapore. This step by companies has been taken as a part of a campaign to fight diabetes and turn the nation healthier.
Singapore is the first country in Asia to take the step to limit sugar content in drinks. While western countries have achieved success in mitigating health risk related to sugar by introducing certain taxes and warning labels. According to the statement by Ministry of Health of Singapore, the beverages firms that have agreed to reduce sugar content, together make up around 70% of total prepackaged sugar beverages in Singapore. However, the step taken by these companies can reduce sugar consumption by 300,000 kg per year.
As per the statistics by Ministry of Health, 60% of total sugar intake in Singapore comes from sugary beverages. These sugary beverages include juices, soft drink, tea and coffee. Meanwhile, beverages firms globally are reworking on their recipes to cut sugar content in drinks and introduce more healthy option catering more health conscious consumers. The statistics also state that the average people in Singapore consume more than 1,500 teaspoons of sugar from sugar sweetened beverages each year.
Some experts also believe that the bar should be set for drink companies on the content of sugar to be included. Among other Asian countries, Philippines has introduced levies on sugar-sweetened beverages. While countries like India and Indonesia have also been considering similar kind of taxes.
According to Singapore Ministry of Health, the seven firms that have decided to limit sugar content had signed an industry pledge to remove all the drinks that consist of more than 12% sugar from their product portfolio of beverages by 2020.
Ministry of Health in Singapore is also promoting consumption of healthy meals. Hence the number of healthy meals in Singapore sold under Healthier Dining Program by Health Promotion Board went up to 26 million in 2017 compared to 7.5 million in 2014.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the best way to curb excessive fat and avoid chronic diseases is to reduce the consumption of sweet drinks.