Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are among seven companies which have committed to a maximum sugar content of 12% in their drinks sold in Singapore by 2020.
The move could reduce sugar consumption from sugar-sweetened beverages by 300,000kg per year, Singapore’s ministry of health has said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong urged citizens of the city-state to cut back on sugary drinks consumption due to the risk of diabetes.
F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng are also involved in the pledge. In total, the seven companies make up 70% of the packaged soft drinks market in Singapore. The agreement appears to be the first of its kind in Asia.
“We are heartened to receive the strong support from industry players on sugar reduction efforts,” the Singapore health ministry said.
“The industry support to lower the sugar level in sugar-sweetened beverages will pave the way for further partnership between the government and industry players to co-create solutions in reducing sugar consumption in Singapore.
“The Health Promotion Board will continue its efforts to reach out to Singaporeans and all beverage manufacturers to expand the range of healthier drink options in Singapore.”
Efforts have been made by western governments to combat obesity and sugar consumption in recent years through the introduction of sugar taxes. Meanwhile France has banned unlimited refills of soft drinks in restaurants, school canteens and other foodservice establishments.
Earlier this year, now CEO of Coca-Cola James Quincey claimed that soft drinks taxes are ‘discriminatory’ and ‘haven’t really made a difference’ to the industry.
Consumers have shifted to healthier alternatives while drinks brands have aimed to maintain sales with more low sugar options.
Coca-Cola Singapore offers over 40 beverage options, of which 40% come under the low or no sugar categories.
The latest pledge has been sparked by a surge in diabetes in Singapore, with 400,000 people now living with the disease. One in three Singaporeans have a lifetime risk of getting the condition.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017