SINGAPORE — By the end of 2023, food and drink outlets will be required to include nutrition labels on their menus indicating which drinks contain higher levels of sugar and saturated fat.
These include freshly made drinks from cafes, freshly squeezed juices and bubble tea.
“Our latest measures will require outlets selling these beverages to label beverages high in sugar and saturated fat on their paper and electronic menus with the Nutri-Grade mark,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Thursday, August 11. .
Calling the drinks a “growing source of sugar in Singaporeans’ diets”, Mr Ong said the Ministry of Health was working to publish the measures by the middle of next year and implement them as soon as possible. by the end of 2023.
“Advertising bans will also apply to those drinks freshly made with the highest level of sugar and saturated fat,” said Ong, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Society’s 19th Congress. International Association of Peritoneal Dialysis.
He added that these measures aim “to help consumers make more informed and healthier choices, reduce the influence of advertising on consumer preferences and stimulate industry reformulation”.
“Although we cannot avoid the sugar in juices and drinks made from sugar cane, we can enjoy coffee, tea, Milo and bubble tea with less sugar,” he said. declared.
“I hope more Singaporeans will realize that less sugar will bring out the natural flavors of drinks and that we may find them even more enjoyable… More importantly, it keeps us healthy and prevents illness. very scary about diabetes.”
In December, the Department of Health announced that prepackaged beverages such as soft drinks, juices and milk will have to bear the new Nutri-Grade labels by the end of 2022.
The four-tier ranking system is based on the sugar and saturated fat content of beverages. It will be color coded – A (dark green), B (light green), C (orange) and D (red), with A being the category with the lowest sugar and fat thresholds.
Beverages rated C or D must have their labels on the front of the package, the Department of Health said. In the event of online sales, from a vending machine or vending machine facing the buyer, the image of the Nutri-Grade brand must be displayed in accordance with the regulations.
Advertisements are also prohibited for grade D beverages in most cases.
Mr Ong said on Thursday that the pre-packaged beverage measures have “caused a very positive demand and supply response from the industry” since they were announced.
For example, producers “significantly reformulated their drinks” before the effective date of the measures for pre-packaged drinks.
“Preliminary data shows that the median sugar level of prepackaged beverages has been reduced from 7.1% in 2017 to 4.7% in 2021,” he said.
Sales of grade C or D prepackaged beverages also fell from 63% in 2017 to 40% in 2021. Sales of beverages containing less than 5% sugar rose from 37% to 60% over the same period. period.
“These changes are as significant as those seen in the UK, which introduced a sugar tax and much stricter market regulation,” he said.
“It shows that in our market, by providing the right information in the right way, our industry and our consumers are sophisticated and health-conscious enough to respond positively, and that’s encouraging.”
“Encouraged by these developments, the MOH and HPB (Health Promotion Board) will intensify their efforts to reduce the consumption of sugar in freshly prepared beverages.” CNA