SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are increasingly eating out and in light of that, the country’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) has launched the Healthier Ingredient Subsidy Scheme to increase the availability of healthier dining options.
A key initiative that aims to change the way Singaporeans eat out, the scheme enables food ingredient suppliers and their distributors to sell healthier oil and whole grains at a price comparable to that of regular ingredients. According to the country’s 2010 National Nutrition Survey, 60 percent of residents usually eat out for lunch and/or dinner, as compared to 49 percent in 2004.
Those who eat out tend to have worse diets; for instance, people who eat out at least six times per week typically consume 12 percent more calories, 15 percent more saturated fat and 34 percent less whole grains than those who eat out less than six times a week.The survey also showed that cooking oil was a key source of fat and saturated fat, which, when contributing to a poor ratio of saturated fat to unsaturated fat, can heighten the development of cardiovascular diseases.
As a result, HPB is focusing on helping the food service sector switch to oils with saturated fat levels of not higher than 35 percent. This is expected to result in a 15 percent reduction in overall saturated fat intake and translate to a three to five percent reduction in cardiovascular heart disease risk among Singaporeans, which is also one of the top three leading causes of death in the country.
Under the scheme, all food ingredient suppliers who meet the stipulated specifications can apply for the subsidy. The application for subsidy of healthier oils will be opened from January 19 to March 20 while the application for whole grains will start later in the year.