Singapore’s Health Promotion Board aims to replace at least half of salt in market with lower-sodium alternatives, as hypertension rises

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SINGAPORE, Sept 28 — Healthier salt and seasoning products will be made more readily available to consumers, as part of the authorities’ latest effort to tackle the rising sodium intake among residents here as the prevalence of hypertension in the population continues to soar through the years.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) targets to reduce sodium intake by 15 per cent in the next five years, said its deputy director for policy and strategy development Eunice Pang on Monday (Sept 26), as the population currently consumes almost double the recommended dietary limit.

“Over the next five years, HPB aims to grow the market share of lower-sodium salt aggressively to replace at least half of the current salt market, with the focus on encouraging the food service to switch to lower-sodium salt,” said the board in response to TODAY’s queries.

Currently, about only 2 per cent of the market comprises lower-sodium salt.

About one in four of sauces and seasonings in the market are of the lower-sodium variant, while demand for such products — which “has been stable over the past five years” — is about one in five.

To expand the availability of the healthier variants, HPB is trying to get more suppliers to come onboard to offer lower-sodium salt in the market, including at more affordable price points.

Residents consume almost twice the recommended level of sodium

The latest effort to combat excessive sodium intake was first mentioned by then Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam in March during the Budget debate for her ministry.

“Singapore residents are on average consuming 3.6 grams of sodium a day. This is almost double that of the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit, translating to more than 1.5 teaspoons of salt daily,” she had said.

From 2019 to 2020, 35.5 per cent of the adult population here had hypertension, up from 24.2 per cent in 2017, the 2020 National Population Health Survey had found.

In 2010, the prevalence of this health condition was 23 per cent, which led to the HPB declaring a “War on Salt” campaign the following year.

In Singapore, about 75 per cent of the sodium inta...

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