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SINGAPORE, Aug 11 — Nestle R&D Centre Singapore is committed to cutting down the sugar and salt content in its products by 2020.
The food and beverage company is looking at reducing the sugar content by five per cent and salt by 10 per cent within the next three years.
Nestle R&D Centre Singapore managing director Dr Tan Sze said Nestle made the commitment in line with its objective of “enhancing the quality of life and contributing to a healthier future".
Nestle R&D Singapore is among the 40 research and development (R&D) centres established by Nestle all over the world to improve the taste, safety and quality of all its products.
Nestle R&D Singapore is responsible for the global and regional product development of the company's Milo, Nescafe, Maggi and Nestle Professional brands.
Tan said the need to reduce the sugar content in its products has become more relevant now than ever as Asia's elderly population is projected to reach almost a billion by 2050.
“This region is going to have the most number of elderly people in the world in the next few decades,” she told reporters during a recent media tour of the centre.
Reduce salt content
Tan said besides sugar, Nestle was also looking at reducing its products' salt content because, according to the Singapore Health Promotion Board, the average Singaporean consumed around 9g of salt per day, which was 4g higher than the amount recommended by health experts.
Nestle Singapore's Marketing and Communications director Phee Chat Chow said the company planned to collaborate with the Singapore Health Promotion Board to create more awareness among the people on the need to reduce their intake of sugar and salt on a daily basis.
Phee said the task required collaborative effort as it would not be easy for Nestle alone to educate the nation.
Diabetes, a rising concern
In Singapore, diabetes is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The republic has more than 400,000 diabetic patients, with another 430,000 in the pre-diabetes stage and at risk of developing the disease.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day message on Tuesday touched on the prevalence of diabetes, among other issues.
Pointing out that one of the key reasons for ill health in old age is diabetes, he said nearly a third of those over the age of 60 have diabetes.
“We have good doctors and hospitals. But actually, it is much better for us to stay healthy and not have to go to the hospital at all!
“Singaporeans are living longer today. But our elderly experience an average of eight years of poor health at the end of their lives. Eight years is a long time and can also be a burden for the families,” he said.
Opt for plain water
“At first, diabetes is an invisible disease. But over time, its consequences are severe (and it can lead to) blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and amputated limbs. This is why we must go all out to fight diabetes,” he said in his message.
“It is not just about more hospital facilities and better treatment. It also depends crucially on personal choices and lifestyles, to prevent diabetes in the first place."
Urging Singaporeans to take responsibility for their own health, the prime minister said they must make an effort to watch their diet, exercise regularly and drink plain water instead of soft drinks.
Such a lifestyle should start from young and it will help reduce the risk of diabetes and enable one to stay healthy and live well, he said. — Bernama