F&B industry advocacy group Food Industry Asia (FIA) welcomed Singapore’s proposed measures to reduce sugar intake from pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). As part of Singapore’s War on Diabetes, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) will conduct a public consultation to seek views from the public and key stakeholders on the possible measures to reduce Singaporeans’ sugar intake from pre-packaged SSBs.
But while the FIA lauded the government’s plan to hold a public consultation, the group believes more options need to be put on the table and that there should be a more collaborative multi-stakeholder approach, including the industry to help solve some of these issues rather than present options such as blanket bans, or those that may be viewed as discriminatory in nature.
Matthew Kovac, executive director of Food Industry Asia (FIA), said the group support the view that a complex multi-dimensional epidemic such as obesity (and its comorbidities) requires policy actions and interventions that can influence the dietary habits and lifestyles of the population — through nutrition education and positive incentives to empower people to make better dietary and lifestyle choices rather than using disincentives (such as taxation) that can influence negative substitution.
“FIA also believes that all policy decisions should be informed by science-based evidence in order to deliver successful outcomes,” he said.
The public consultation will be held from this December 4 to January 25 next year.