Pre-Packaged Drinks To Be Graded A-D From End-2021 Based On Sugar & Saturated Fat Content

Singapore isn’t just fighting against Covid-19.

We’re also embroiled in a war against diabetes.

And today, on 4 Mar 2020, there is news of our latest offensive against the nasty white stuff.

Prepackaged Sugary Drinks To Be Graded 

Back in Oct 2019, Singapore announced a plan to stop Singaporeans from downing so many sugary drinks.

That’s because the Health Promotion Board realised that 31% of prepackaged sugary drinks have more than 10% sugarWhich is really, really bad.

They will grade the drinks and force manufacturers to put these grades on their drinks’ packaging.

In other words, sugary drinks will be treated like cigarettes where tobacco producers have to put deformed babies on the cover to let people know that smoking is bad.

They said that they will announce the specifics of the plan in 2020, which is apparently today, 5 Mar 2020.

Pre-packaged Drinks To Carry Labels From End-2021

On 5 Mar 2020, Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong announced the specifics of the plan in parliament.

From end-2021, pre-packaged non-alcoholic drinks will be required to display a nutritional grade which ranges between A and D.

A being the healthiest and D being the worst.

How Do The Grades Work?

The grading system is known as the “Nutri-Grade” and is based on the sugar and saturated fat content within a drink:

  • A: 250ml drink with no sugar and saturated fat content
  • B: 250ml drink with no sugar and saturated fat content but contains sweeteners
  • C: 250ml lower-sugar drink with less than 10g of sugar and 3.75g of saturated fats
  • D: 100ml drink with more than 12g sugar

Compulsory Display For Drinks With C or D Grades

Manufacturers with grades C or D drinks are required to display the grades of their drinks.

Each grade is colour coded and there’s no way you’ll misunderstand what grade the drink is in.

Image: MOH

The sugar level must be displayed prominently as well.

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Sugar Content is King

The saturated fat content within a drink can only “downgrade” the grade instead of “upgrade”.

For example, a drink with “grade A” saturated fat content and “grade D” sugar content will be given the D grading.

On the other hand, a drink with “grade D” saturated fat content and “grade A” sugar content will also be given the D grading.

In other words, the sugar content is like English. No matter how good your other subjects are, if you fail your English, you can’t get into JC.

Grade D Drinks Not Allowed To Be Advertised

It’s not just a simple labelling.

Manufacturers are not allowed to advertise grade D drinks on any platform except within their own stores.


It’s For Both Consumers’ and Manufacturers’ Sake

So what’s the point of the grading system? To show off that everything in Singapore is based on grades?

Image: quickmeme

The aim is to make it clear to us what exactly we’re drinking at the moment.

According to the ministry, about 70% of the current pre-packaged drinks we have right now falls into grades C or D.

As for manufacturers, they’re hoping that the restrictions will make them put more into their R&D so that they can come up with healthier options that people can enjoy.

And that’s not all.

Bubble Tea is Next

It was added that after this is implemented, they will be looking at grading and labelling freshly-made drinks like bubble tea.


Although given the current situation, that might be 2 years away. Or even further since freshly made drinks are actually kind of hard to standardise, right?


Singapore’s Current Diabetes Situation

Currently, 1 in 9 residents in Singapore is affected by diabetes. And out of three diabetics, 1 is unaware of their condition.

And out of those who know they have diabetes, only 1 in 3 is controlling their condition well.

Image: Health Hub

With diabetes, people can possibly suffer from stroke, heart attack or kidney failure.

In a nutshell? We’re losing. Badly.

Drink more plain water and if you can, take up HPB’s offer of subsidised screening at participating outlets.

Meanwhile, the government is also helping out by placing water coolers at hawker centres, bus interchanges and terminals by mid of this year.