Address by Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Environment & Water Resources
Women are the main decision makers of family food and nutrition choices with more than 90% of all home food consumer purchases made by women. But are there enough women in leadership in the food nutrition innovation sectors that amplify the views and concerns of the everyday woman consumer? Meet the women who in their daily working lives are at the frontlines of the food science business – top level management at MNCs, scientists/academics, business owners and policymakers. What do their jobs entail? How do they see the future of food and nutrition innovation for women? How are they bridging potential gender specific food needs?
What constitutes healthy eating in 2019? Singaporeans’ healthy life expectancy has not increased as much as their life expectancy. In 2017 in his National Day Rally speech PM Lee said that on average we live to 82 years and out of this, we experience eight years of ill health. Much of this has to do with what we eat. Singapore sadly also has the 2nd highest proportion of diabetics in the world among developed nations. If nothing is done, diabetes is projected to affect more than one million Singaporeans by 2050. In a country globally known for being a food paradise, is it possible to reverse these negative health trends?
This panel will discuss the pros and cons of not just the diet fads of the moment – but how and what to eat to increase “healthy life expectancy” and what we can do to tackle the rising threat of diabetes.
According to the Ministry of Health, 13% of children in mainstream schools were overweight in 2017, a slight rise from 11% in 2011. Unhealthy body weight in childhood is likely to persist and progress later in life. Children and adolescents are most likely to grow and develop to their full potential when they are well nourished. How do we ensure our kids grow up healthy and maintain good eating habits? What are the latest developments in the field of kids’ nutrition? How could our children grow up to be competent eaters? Competant eaters consume healthy food, are able to enjoy a variety of foods, try new foods and rely on their internal cues of hunger and fullness. We will also discuss GUSTO – “Growing Up towards Healthy Outcomes”, Singapore’s largest and most comprehensive birth cohort study as GUSTO researchers have uncovered many important findings.
The United Nations climate panel research report has called for all countries to change the way people, eat, commute, build and farm to avoid catastrophe.
Today the world’s population stands at 7.5bn – more than double what it was as recently as 1960. The United Nations estimates that our world population grows by more than 80 million every year and is on track to hit 8.5bn by 2030 and 9.8bn by 2050. So with finite land and seas, how can we feed these billions more people without destroying the Earth especially since industrial farming practices that produce the highest agricultural yields may also have a severe environmental impact? In the area of Aquaculture, the good news is consumers are demanding more sustainably caught and produced seafood prompting big retailers such as Walmart, McDonald’s and Whole Foods to sell fish that’s been sustainably caught. In the area of meat production, it is no secret the process has a very large carbon footprint. Listen to experts in the fields who will explain the various global strategies to tackle this ever-growing problem.
Food safety is of increasing public concern as food recalls have become far more frequent. In August 2018, the AVA of Singapore ordered a recall of infant milk powder after detecting bacteria. And in September 2018, NTUC FairPrice halted all strawberry imports from Australia in the face of reports of needles in the fruit. How do our authorities go about raising the alarm for a food recall and what measures are in place to protect our population from compromised foods?
Food fraud is another fast-growing threat to our food safety. In fact, food products were the worst offenders for fake and counterfeit goods in Europe last year totalling more than US$150m, according to the EU commission. 80% of the fake food and drink products came from China. In 2016, advocacy group Oceana reported that one in five seafood samples it tested worldwide was mislabelled. At the same time, there have also been urgent calls for better food labelling and laws to be beefed up with new research revealing people are still nearly dying despite precautionary allergen labelling. In the UK, a 15-year-old girl recently died from a wrongly labelled sandwich. What are the most recent trends in food labelling to protect our food world? Can blockchain lead the way?
Our food world is changing at an incredible speed and the food industries, and even businesses where food is small component, must change. To survive, the new food retail world must be built around the consumer. Her likes and dislikes: her desire to have healthier foods for herself and her family, the way she shops for groceries – in-store or online; her ever-changing and complex taste palette. Today, people seek a connection to the food they eat. There is a new consumer attitude, mostly led by millennials, to truly understand everything possible about a particular food or beverage, and then support the brand through these aligned values. 7 out of 10 US and UK consumers today want to know and understand an ingredient list. Ethical factors continue to grow in popularity. In Milan, the Coop- the supermarket of the future – uses technology to give shoppers total transparency and total information. What other eating in and eating out trends do the experts see and are there trends that are unique to Asia? Is Asia developing new food trends that are set to change the world?
The new food retail world must be built around the customer as the foundation. Find out the latest food consumer trends for Asia and what our governments and companies are doing to address personal, social and commercial demands for healthier products. How are restaurant bosses and other commercial enterprises changing up their menus to attract and retain a more health conscious and sustainably-aware customer?