Singapore caps sugar levels in beverages

Big soft drinks companies have agreed to limit the sugar content of their drinks sold in Singapore to 12% by 2020 as part of the country’s effort to fight diabetes.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Singapore-based Fraser & Neave and Yeo Hiap Seng, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle and Japan’s Pokka have all agreed to limit the amount of sugar they use in beverages sold in the City-State, according to the country’s ministry of health.

“We are heartened to receive the strong support from industry players on sugar reduction efforts,” the ministry said.

The seven firms produce 70% of all sweetened drinks sold in the country and will reduce the country’s sugar consumption by 300,000 kilograms per year, according to the health ministry.

Singapore is the latest country to join a world-wide effort by consumers and government to get beverage companies to reformulate their drinks and reduce the amount of sugar they use.

According to Singapore’s ministry of health, 400,000 people suffer from diabetes in the country of 5.6 million people, and one in three persons in the country are at risk of getting the disease.

Sensing the shift by consumers towards healthier drinks and snacks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been reworking their servings to include smaller portions and healthier plant-based alternatives or what PepsiCo called “guilt-free” drinks and snacks.

The World Health Organisation said last year that consuming fewer calorific sweetened beverages was the surest way to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Among Asian countries, Brunei this year passed a sugar tax on sweetened beverages. The Philippines has already implemented a levy on sweetened drinks, while Indonesia and India are mulling the idea.

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