Opening Address by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at the Official Launch of the “Life’s Sweeter with Less Sugar” Scratch & Win Contest, 11 Oct 2014

Mr Zee Yong Kang, CEO, HPB

Choa Chu Kang Grassroots Leaders,

Choa Chu Kang Merchants Association,

Friends, stallholders,

Good morning everyone. Thank you for joining me this morning as we launch another exciting initiative to support Singaporeans in making healthy choices.

2.      The focus of this new initiative is to encourage Singaporeans to change their dietary habits and choose beverages with less sugar or no sugar at coffee shops, food courts and hawker centres.

3.      These are the most common places where people eat out and they provide us with a great opportunity to remind Singaporeans of the healthier options available and the reasons for choosing them.

Sugar consumption is on the rise

4.      Why do we need this initiative?  Sugar consumption figures among Singaporeans have shown worrying trends.  Excessive sugar intake is one of the main causes of obesity, which in turn increases the risk for chronic diseases. We therefore need to explore ways to curb this trend of sugar consumption.

Scratch & Win Contest to nudge and incentivise behavioural change

5.      With this in mind, the Health Promotion Board will be partnering with nearly 800 drinks stalls to launch an island-wide campaign to encourage the consumption of sugar-less or sugarless beverages.  Many of us enjoy playing games and like to win.  The campaign will therefore start with a “Scratch & Win Contest” will be launched from today, running through to February 2015. 

6.      Under the Scratch & Win contest, every purchase of a qualified sugar-less or sugarless drink at the participating outlets will entitle the consumer to a scratch card and the possibility of winning a prize.  Participating outlets will also display visual cues to remind customers to make the healthier choice when placing their orders.

7.      Through this first step in the campaign, we hope to influence Singaporeans to be more mindful of their choice of beverage, so that, in the long run, they will adopt these healthier drinks as their default choice.

The Food Strategy

8.      This initiative to reduce the consumption of sugar is in line with the Health Promotion Board’s Food Strategy as outlined in the Healthy Living Master Plan announced earlier this year.

9.      The Food Strategy comprises three key initiatives which are underpinned by strong partnerships with the Food & Beverage industry.

10.    The first initiative, the Healthier Dining Programme was launched in June 2014.  Since then, the programme has seen more than 700 food outlets and stalls island-wide pledging to serve 500-calorie meals.

11.    The second initiative is what we are focused on with the launch of the Scratch & Win today, where we work with partners to increase the availability and encourage the choice of less sweetened beverages.

12.    The final initiative is the increased availability of Healthier Choice products.  Details of the plans around this will be announced at a later date.

Conclusion

13.    Making the decision to choose sugar-less or sugarless drinks is one that is entirely within your control and one that will become increasingly easy with the 800 over drinks stalls participating in the Scratch & Win contest.  It may seem like a small step but we all know that every positive step can add up to better health for you.

14.    So the next time you make your beverage order at your neighbourhood coffeeshop, remember to ask for “siu dai” or kosong instead. This will help you and whole of Singapore stay healthy.

15.    Thank you.


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