SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 23 August 2017 - During the 2017 National Day Rally, PM Lee Hsien Loong highlighted diabetes as a major long-term health problem in Singapore, affecting 1 in 9 Singaporeans, and 3 in 10 among the elderly.
To combat diabetes, PM Lee offered four tips for healthy living, one of which was to consume less soft drinks. Furthermore, he also highlighted a recent initiative by the Health Promotion Board, which invited a voluntary commitment from beverage manufacturers in Singapore to ensure that all drinks manufactured and distributed in Singapore will not exceed 12% in total sugar content by the year 2020.
POKKA, the largest beverage brand in Singapore and a key partner of Government health initiatives, is fully and completely supportive of the Government's efforts to improve citizen health, and is proud to announce that it has made the commitment to ensure that all POKKA products will adhere to HPB's 12% sugar content guideline.
As a brand, health and quality have always been central to POKKA's promise. It has always aimed to improve consumers' quality of life through its healthy and natural beverages. As such, the commitment it has made is completely aligned with its values.
POKKA was one of the earliest participants in the Health Promotion Board's Healthier Choice programme after its inception in 2005. It was one of the earliest beverage brands to carry the Healthier Choice symbol. Today, after a decade of focused innovation, more than 40% of its portfolio meets the Healthier Choice requirement, with sugar contents of 6% or less.
In fact, less than 5% of the beverages POKKA manufactures and distributes in Singapore contain total sugar of 12% or more--specifically, POKKA Soursop Juice Drink, POKKA Guava Juice Drink, and partner brands Kickapoo, Sinalco and Green Spot. Both POKKA drinks contain 12.3% sugar, while the partner brands contain 12.8%, 12.3% and 12.0% respectively.
POKKA has already begun reformulating its Soursop and Guava juice drinks to meet HPB's 12% criteria, and it is fully confident of achieving the 2020 target set by HPB. It will also be working with its partner brands to adjust their recipes to conform to HPB's guidelines. Furthermore, it will continue its quest to create quality beverages with less than 6% sugar, in order to provide even more Healthier Choice options for our consumers to savour.
Mr Alain Ong (CEO, POKKA International Pte Ltd) sees the sugar reduction initiative as only a beginning. "As Singapore's largest beverage brand, committed to healthier consumer living, POKKA absolutely supports the government's measures to fight diabetes and promote healthier living," said Mr Ong. "However, reducing sugar in beverages alone is one-dimensional. Moving forward, our authorities should also adopt a holistic perspective of healthy living, regulating sugary food items such as snacks and confectioneries."
"The authorities should also safeguard the meaning of their "Healthier Choice" symbol," said Mr Ong, "by not endorsing products which substitute sugar for intense artificial sweeteners, as the effect of such artificial sweeteners on our bodies is debatable. The symbol has come to be trusted as an assurance that endorsed products are safe and healthy to consume. Let's not cause confusion to consumers."
About POKKA Singapore (www.pokka.co)
Established in 1977 by parent company POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverage Ltd., Japan, POKKA Singapore is a leading beverage company in Singapore and Asia-Pacific.
A continuous focus to improve and innovate, coupled with numerous years of experience in the Food & Beverage industry, and has helped POKKA retain its position as the one of the best in the market. Today, POKKA is a market leader in Singapore's ready-to-drink beverage market, and a renowned brand in over 50 other countries across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
In Singapore, the brand is No. 1 in various categories--Ready-to-Drink Green Tea, Western Tea, Non-Chilled Juice Drinks and Coffee, according to Nielsen Market Track. In the recent Influential Brands 2016, POKKA has also once again emerged as the top brand in the category of Non-Carbonated Beverages among Generation Y consumers in Singapore.
Through POKKA International Pte Ltd., the company has established a strong and efficient team to handle the distribution and marketing of POKKA's products as well as partner brands such as Sapporo Beer, Red Bull, evian, Volvic, BADOIT, Vita Coco, Kickapoo, Sinalco, Asian Story and others.