By Agatha Wong
According to the International Diabetes Federation, as of 2021, 90 million adults aged 20 to 79 in South East Asia are living with diabetes, with 46 million going undiagnosed; meanwhile, one in four live births are affected by hyperglycaemia in pregnancy. In the same year, some 747,000 deaths stemmed from diabetes.
These staggering figures point towards the troubling diabetes epidemic in the region, with local governments rushing to control the issue: sugar taxes are well underway in the Philippines and Thailand; while Singapore has rolled out the Nutri-Grade mark, where beverages are rated, on a scale of A to D, for their sugar and saturated fat content.
Consumers, too, are growing increasingly cognisant of the ways sugar can affect their health. In a consumer study conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), it was revealed that nearly three in four American consumers (73%) are “trying to limit (59%) or avoid (14%) sugars”; and among those trying to limit or avoid sugars, two-thirds (67%) are limiting or avoiding added sugars. The study also discovered consumers’ top reasons for limiting or avoiding sugars, with avoiding weight gain and improving their diet as prime factors.
Changing mindsets and changing laws on sugar intake have thus prompted food manufacturers and businesses to reconsider their product offerings, with products claiming low sugar content and low glycaemic index taking their places on supermarket shelves. However, the road towards creating a low-sugar product is not easy.
Alchemy Foodtech, a Singapore-based start-up, is committed to supporting brands and business in their low-sugar product development journey. With a mission “to empower healthier food without compromising on taste for sustainable healthy living”, the company has launched a series of fibre blends which can be incorporated across different food applications without any changes to the taste and texture and consumers love.
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