As part of Singapore’s War on Diabetes, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will introduce mandatory nutrition labels and advertising prohibitions for Nutri-Grade beverages, which will take effect from 30 December 2022 onwards.
On this page:
- Need for Measures
- Details of Measures
- Resources for Download
The Need for Measures
Diabetes is a serious health concern in Singapore. The number of Singapore residents with diabetes is projected to reach one million by 2050, if nothing is done.1 In response to the significant health and societal burden posed by diabetes, MOH launched the War on Diabetes in 2016 to mobilise a whole-of-society effort to tackle the disease.
High sugar intake is linked to increased risk of obesity and diabetes. A 2021 local meta-analysis which included studies on Asian populations found that higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a 51% higher risk of diabetes, compared to lower consumption.2 The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to take action to reduce individuals’ intake of sugar to as low as possible, stating that “nutritionally, people do not need any sugar in their diet”.3,4
However, Singaporeans are consuming on average twelve teaspoons (or 60g) of sugar daily.5 More than half of Singaporeans’ daily sugar intake comes from beverages, of which prepacked beverages contribute 64 per cent. More needs to be done to further reduce Singaporeans’ sugar intake.
About the Measures for Nutri-Grade Beverages
The Singapore Government decided to introduce mandatory nutrition labels and advertising prohibitions for Nutri-Grade beverages, after carefully considering the feedback received from public, industry and expert stakeholders, and reviewing existing overseas and local evidence. Together, the two new measures aim to help consumers identify beverages that are higher in sugar and saturated fat and to reduce the influence of advertising on consumer preferences, thus encouraging more informed, healthier choices and spurring industry reformulation.
The regulations for the measures have been published and will come into effect from 30 December 2022 onwards.
To introduce the nutrition label and advertising prohibitions, MOH is implementing a grading system for beverages, based on sugar and saturated fat content.
A summary of the labelling and advertising requirements is below. Companies must still refer to the relevant legislation in the Food Regulations and the Specifications of the Nutri-Grade mark for the technical requirements for the measures.
“What is considered a Nutri-Grade beverage?”
Nutri-Grade beverages include:
- Prepacked beverages that are ready-to-consume and are packed or made up in advance ready for sale in packages such as bottles, cans, cartons, packets or other similar containers
- Prepacked beverages that are powders or concentrates that are meant to be reconstituted or diluted with fluids before consumption as a beverage (e.g. 3-in-1 instant coffee beverage, cordials); and
- Beverages dispensed from automated beverage dispensers, which are machines that dispense non-prepacked beverages according to a pre-fixed formula, with no option for a prospective purchaser of the beverage to customize the amount of any ingredient in the beverage. This includes fountain drinks and beverages dispensed from automated coffee machines.
Alcoholic beverages, special purpose foods, beverages prepared by hand at the place/premise where they are sold, or those that can be customised by the purchaser are excluded from the definition of “Nutri-Grade beverages”.
Grading System for Nutri-Grade Beverages
All Nutri-Grade beverages will be graded using a single set of thresholds for sugar and saturated fat content (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Nutri-Grade Grading System
Note: The sugar content of the beverage is determined by its total sugar content, minus the amount of lactose and/or galactose that is declared on the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP).
The Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) guidelines have also been revised to align with the Nutri-Grade mark, such that all HCS drinks are either Grade A or B.
Mandatory Nutrition Label and Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)
The mandatory nutrition label, called “Nutri-Grade”, has four colour-coded grades. Grade A, corresponding to the lowest sugar and saturated fat thresholds, is in green. Grade D, corresponding to the highest sugar and saturated fat thresholds, is in red. Please refer to the Usage Guide in the "Resources" section below, for the specific Pantones.
In addition to the grades, the sugar level of the beverage is shown clearly on the label in the form of percentage of total volume.
Nutri-Grade beverages graded "C" or "D" must be labelled with a Nutri-Grade mark on the front-of-pack of its package. Labelling of the Nutri-Grade mark is optional for Nutri-Grade beverages graded 'A" or "B", and companies can choose to label such products with the voluntary HCS and/or the Nutri-Grade mark.
The Nutri-Grade marks are illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Illustration of Nutri-Grade marks
Note: the sugar levels in the images are for illustrative purposes only. The actual sugar level to be indicated on the mark should correspond to the sugar content of each beverage.
To facilitate implementation of the measures, all Nutri-Grade beverages are also required to carry a NIP, specifying the energy value, the amounts of protein, carbohydrate, total sugar, fat and saturated fat in the Nutri-Grade beverages. Additional declaration of other nutrients (e.g. lactose) is also allowed. Only lactose or galactose declared on the NIP would be subtracted from the amount of total sugar for the purpose of Nutri-Grade grading. Where lactose and galactose are not declared on the NIP, their respective amounts are taken as zero.
Companies are responsible to ensure that the Nutri-Grade mark (if required) and NIP are applied to their products in accordance to the regulations. The images for the Nutri-Grade mark can be downloaded in the “Resources” section below. Companies will not be required to register any product artwork or submit any test result prior to applying the Nutri-Grade mark. Post-market surveillance will be conducted by the relevant authorities to ensure that the regulations are complied with.
Advertisements of Nutri-Grade beverages graded "D", are prohibited across all media platforms (e.g. broadcast, print, out-of-home, on-ground, online) except at point-of-sale (POS) platforms. POS advertisements for Nutri-Grade beverages graded "D" are permitted (e.g. shelf talkers, promotional signage at supermarkets, tasting booths, pop-ups at e-commerce sites), but these materials must display the beverage’s Nutri-Grade mark clearly.
Brand advertisements that do not feature any particular product, and advertisements that promote the sale of Nutri-Grade beverages graded "A", "B" or "C" are allowed.
The Calculator is available to help industry and consumers easily determine the grade of Nutri-Grade beverages. The Calculator should always be used in conjunction with the Food Regulations and Industry Guidance Documents, which provide important guidance and explanations.