The Nutri-Grade Measures in Singapore, effective from the end of 2023, are set to revolutionise how consumers choose their beverages, aiming to significantly reduce sugar intake across the population.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) are introducing comprehensive Nutri-Grade labelling requirements for freshly prepared beverages by the end of 2023. This extension is a critical move towards reducing sugar consumption and promoting healthier dietary habits among Singaporeans.
The Essence of Nutri-Grade Measures
Singapore has implemented a robust strategy for nutritional labelling and public health promotion, with the Nutri-Grade system as a cornerstone. This system initially targeted pre-packaged beverages and those from non-customisable automatic dispensers. This plays a key role in the broader strategy of the HPB and MOH to address health concerns related to high sugar consumption.
The Nutri-Grade labelling system categorises beverages into four grades, ‘A’ to ‘D’, based on their sugar and saturated fat content. Beverages with lower sugar and saturated fat receive higher grades.
Aiming to make nutritional information transparent and easily understandable, the system encourages consumers to make healthier choices. Its successful implementation with pre-packaged beverages has led to its extension to freshly prepared beverages, demonstrating Singapore’s ongoing commitment to enhancing public health and nutrition.
Impact on Freshly Prepared Beverages
The Nutri-Grade labelling system has expanded to include freshly prepared beverages, covering popular choices like bubble tea and freshly brewed coffee. This new regulation aims to clearly disclose the sugar and fat content of these beverages. It is expected that this enhanced visibility will actively direct consumers towards healthier choices by increasing their awareness of the nutritional content of their favorite drinks.
Regulatory Expansion to Various Settings
The extended Nutri-Grade requirements will apply across retail and non-retail settings, including F&B outlets, hotels, workplaces, and educational institutions. This widespread application ensures a broad impact on the population’s dietary habits.
Recognising the challenges faced by smaller food businesses, MOH and HPB have provided concessions for those earning less than S$1 million annually and operating in fewer than 10 premises. This move aims to facilitate a smoother transition for these businesses.
New Labelling System Nudges Consumers Towards Healthier Drink Choices
The Nutri-Grade labelling system effectively categorises beverages into four grades, ‘A’ to ‘D’, based on their sugar and saturated fat content. As a result, the system awards higher grades to beverages with lower levels of sugar and saturated fat.
With the goal of making nutritional information transparent and easily understandable, this system actively encourages consumers to opt for healthier choices. Following its successful implementation in the realm of pre-packaged beverages, there has been a strategic extension to include freshly prepared beverages. This expansion further illustrates Singapore’s ongoing and steadfast commitment to improving public health and nutrition.
Singapore’s innovative Nutri-Grade labelling system is poised to significantly shift consumer habits towards healthier beverage choices. Its effectiveness in reducing sugar intake was confirmed through a randomised controlled trial. Leading this groundbreaking research, Dr. Soye Shin and Professor Eric Finkelstein orchestrated a unique shopping experiment. They divided participants into two groups. Group one had access to Nutri-Grade labels, while the other did not. The findings showcased a strong inclination towards A- and B-graded beverages among the label-informed group. This trend notably led to an average reduction of 1.5 grams of sugar per serving. Given Singapore’s high diabetes prevalence and the pressing need to curb rising obesity and cardiovascular disease rates, these findings are especially meaningful.
Furthermore, the study highlights the limitations of concentrating solely on pre-packaged drinks. This advocates for a more inclusive approach for greater health benefits.
As the Duke-NUS research team gears up to assess the real-world impact of Nutri-Grade, their forthcoming research will explore the labelling system’s wider effects. It will take into account feedback from both consumers and manufacturers. This comprehensive approach is aimed at gauging the overall influence of Nutri-Grade in actual consumer environments, thereby reinforcing its integral role in Singapore’s public health initiatives.
- MOH | News Highlights. (n.d.). https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/extension-of-nutri-grade-requirements-to-freshly-prepared-beverages-from-end-2023
- Measures for Nutri-Grade Beverages. (n.d.). Health Promotion Board. https://www.hpb.gov.sg/healthy-living/food-beverage/nutri-grade
- New labelling system nudges consumers to pick healthier drinks . (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2023, from https://www.duke-nus.edu.sg/medicus/2023-issue2/new-labelling-system
- Shin, S., Puri, J., & Finkelstein, E. A. (2023, February 15). A randomized trial to evaluate the impact of Singapore’s forthcoming Nutri-grade front-of-pack beverage label on food and beverage purchases. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-023-01422-4