Showcase of lower-sugar drink options at festival

We thank Mr Matt Pasterfield for his feedback and interest in the availability of healthier food and drink options in Singapore in the fight against diabetes ("Walk the talk at health events"; Forum Online, Nov 18).

The Healthy Lifestyle Festival SG organised by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) aims to highlight to Singaporeans the importance of leading healthier lifestyles.

The festival showcases the many healthy living options available to Singaporeans and demonstrates that healthy living begins with making healthier choices and small shifts in everyday lives.

Such lifestyle changes also extend to the daily choices we make in food and beverages.

To increase the awareness of healthier food and beverage (F&B) options and to enable Singaporeans to sample these alternatives, HPB invites our F&B partners, who are working with us to increase the availability and accessibility of healthier options, to join us in the festival.

The beverage partners have reformulated their drink products to ensure that Asian drinks, ready-to-drink tea and sports drinks contain only 6 per cent of added sugar, while juice drinks and carbonates contain only 6 per cent and 7 per cent of added sugar, respectively.

These products have been certified with the "Lower in Sugar" Healthier Choice Symbol, as they contain at least 25 per cent less sugar, compared with regular sweetened beverages or products from the same food category.

Our approach is to encourage Singaporeans to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks and nudge them to adjust their palate to choose healthier varieties and accept less-sweet drinks as their default choice.

To promote the consumption of such reduced-sugar or no-sugar beverages, HPB has also introduced campaigns such as "Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy", which ran from July to last month, to incentivise Singaporeans to choose healthy practices.

The HPB will continue to partner the industry to expand the range of healthier options, which will, in turn, affect consumer choices and consumption habits.

Joanna Chan (Ms)

Director

Obesity Prevention Management Division

Health Promotion Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Showcase of lower-sugar drink options at festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe