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Seven companies pledge to limit sugar content in drinks sold in Singapore

DBR Staff Writer Published 23 August 2017

Seven beverage companies including Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo have pledged to reduce the sugar content in their beverages sold in Singapore.

Other companies include Singapore-based Yeo Hiap Seng and F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries and Japan’s Pokka. The companies have also taken the pledge to limit sugar content in their respective beverages.

This pledge is part of a campaign that has been undertaken by the city-state’s health regulator in relation to the growing instances of diabetes in the country.

According to the Financial Times, this is the first time that an Asian country has received such a commitment from softdrink-makers in the market.

These companies are claimed to have a market share of 70% of the sweetened drinks in the country with a population of about 5.6 million people. The ministry stated that if the companies reduce the sugar content in their drinks, then Singapore could reduce about 300,000 kg of sugar consumption every year.

In Singapore, an estimated 400,000 people have diabetes and one of three people have a lifetime risk of developing the disease. As per the health ministry, if the current trend continues, there could a million people being affected by diabetes by 2050.

The health ministry’s Diabetes Prevention and Care Taskforce has been studying to further encourage sugar reduction through experience in other countries. The taskforce is studying sugar tax, warning labels, curtailing advertisements on sugary drinks, etc. These ideas will be presented to all the stakeholders in the coming months.

The pledge is on similar lines to Western countries, especially in the US, where soft drink-makers have committed to reducing sugar content to combat obesity. Governments across several western countries are also creating awareness programmes among their citizens about the risk of consuming foods and beverages with high sugar content.

PepsiCo is said to have committed to limit sugar content to less than 100 calories per 12 oz serving across two-thirds of its products globally by 2025.

Coca-Cola has also pledged to cut down on sugar in more than 500 of its drinks, worldwide this year. The company stated that 30% of its 3,900 beverages contain low or no sugar and that 97% of the drinks sold in Singapore, already meet the country’s requirements.

Image: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and four other companies pledge to reduce sugar content in their drinks in Singapore. Photo: Courtesy of wowspix/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.