Singapore To Introduce New Nutritional Labels For Sugar-Sweetened Beverages By End 2021

Monday, March 9th, 2020 | 801 Views


In the latest measure on the war on sugar, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) will be rolling out new nutrition summary labels called Nutri-Grade from the end of 2021. This new label will feature four colour-coded grades ranging from A to D (green to red) which reflects the sugar and saturated fat content of the drinks.

Beverages with the dark green, A label are the healthiest, containing 1 g or less sugar and 0.7 g or less saturated fat per 100 ml, with no sweetener. While beverages with the red, D label are the unhealthiest, containing more than 10 g sugar or 2.8 g saturated fat per 100 ml. The label will be mandatory for beverages that fall under the C or D grade, which represents 70 percent of drinks in Singapore. This information gives a quick summary of the nutritional value of the beverage, allowing consumers to compare sugar levels across different beverages, encouraging informed, healthier choices.

This measure will be expanded further to freshly prepared drinks, such as bubble tea chains, traditional medicine halls and smoothie chains. Moreover, advertising of D-grade drinks are banned on all media platforms.

With the regulations coming into effect only in end of 2021, beverage manufacturers have close to two years to reformulate their products accordingly.

“We want to encourage manufacturers to reformulate. The point is not to deprive Singaporeans of their favourite drinks, but to encourage manufacturers on their journey to reformulation to create a wider range of healthier beverages for all to enjoy,” said Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State.

“The reformulation process is carried out in phases to encourage consumer acceptance; however, this sudden shift in sugar thresholds will negatively affect the progress that has been achieved so far and could potentially lead to consumers rejecting products. Consequently, consumers may opt for alternatives that are equal or higher in sugar content,” commented Matthew Kovac, Food Industry Asia (FIA) Executive Director.

According to Food Industry Asia (FIA), the industry in Singapore has achieved significant progress in reducing the sugar content in products. Recent statistics by the MOH and Health Promotion Board (HPB) show that 94 per cent of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in Singapore contain no more than 12 percent of sugar and 31 percent are within the range of zero to six per cent of sugar, meeting the current Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) guidelines.

FIA believes that a collaborative approach involving the government, industry and other stakeholders is required to tackle Singapore’s current public health challenge on diabetes.  

 

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