NTUC to offer discounts on 8 rice products to encourage healthy eating
SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice will be offering a discount of at least 10 per cent on eight healthier rice products from Aug 21 to 30.
Announcing details after Prime Minister's Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech on Sunday evening (Aug 20), Singapore largest supermarket chain said the products include brown and red rice from its housebrand, as well as a brand of low glycemic index (GI) rice.
This is to promote wholegrain rice as a healthier alternative to white rice by "moderating costs of healthier food alternatives," said NTUC FairPrice.
The eight products are:
FairPrice Brown Unpolished Rice, 2.5kg
FairPrice Red Unpolished Rice, 2.5kg
FairPrice Thai Blend Rice, 2.5kg
Golden Phoenix Germinated Jasmine Rice, 1kg
Bamboo Hill Organic Brown Fragrant Rice, 1kg
Naturel Organic Mix Brown and Red Rice, 2kg
Natural Organic Brown Rice, 2kg
Kangaroo Low GI Rice, 2kg
In his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee noted that white rice is bad for diabetes because it has a high GI, a measurement of the impact of foods on blood sugar.
“White rice may not taste sweet, but the effect is almost like eating sugar. When you eat white rice, your blood sugar will shoot up,” he said.
PM Lee acknowledged that the taste of brown rice will take getting used for people who have always chosen to eat white rice, citing the example of some of his ministers who do not like the taste of the healthier alternative at their weekly Cabinet lunches.
"As a compromise, I am thinking of trying white rice mixed with brown rice," said PM Lee. That was also what he served at a reception after the rally.
Apart from making healthier food choices, PM Lee also urged Singaporeans to go for regular health check-ups, cut down on sugar and exercise more.
Which type of rice would best fit for fighting/ preventing Diabetes?
Supermarket chain Sheng Siong will be joining NTUC FairPrice in offering special discounts on healthier rice products, in a bid to get Singaporeans to replace white rice in their diet.
Brown rice is generally more expensive than white rice, though the price gap can vary depending on the brand and type of grain.
Responding to queries from TODAY, a Sheng Siong spokesperson said on Monday (Aug 21) that it is offering a 10 per cent discount on its house brands Royal Golden Grain brown rice products, and the Happy Family Red Cargo rice vermicelli.
Members of the public can buy these discounted rice products from Monday till the end of the month across its 43 outlets.
Prices for the brown rice products range from S$6 for 2.5kg, to S$10.70 for 5kg.
From Tuesday, selected brown rice and low glycaemic index (GI) rice products will also go on discount.
The spokesperson added that the offers were to “support our Government’s call to fight against diabetes”.
FairPrice has announced that they are offering a discount of at least 10 per cent on eight healthier rice products, till Aug 30, to moderate the costs of healthier food alternatives and encourage healthier eating among Singaporeans.
These range from brown, red, organic and low GI rice, and include the FairPrice house brands as well as rice products from brands, such as the Golden Phoenix germinated jasmine rice and Bamboo Hill organic brown fragrant rice.
Meanwhile, a Dairy Farm spokesperson, which runs Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets, said they have all along been working with their suppliers to offer special discounts or promotions for brown rice on a “regular basis”.
Prices range from S$7.10 to S$12.65 for 2 to 2.5kg of brown, red or mixed rice at their outlets.
During the National Day Rally on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had urged Singaporeans to replace white rice – an Asian staple – with brown or mixed grain rice. He also likened the consumption of white rice to “almost like eating sugar”, despite it not tasting sweet.
However, former nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng pointed out in a Facebook post that eating healthy is often not a choice for the low-income.
“For example, PM Lee encourages people to eat brown rice and wholemeal bread. However, brown is more expensive than white rice; wholemeal bread is more expensive than white bread,” he noted.
Mr Cheng suggested that the authorities subsidise the healthier versions of staples such as rice and bread, adding: “If diabetes is a crucial issue, then making sure that low-income people have a real choice to eat healthily should be a national priority."
Mr Vincent Goh, project initiator of ground-up initiative A Packet of Rice that distributes lunch boxes to the elderly living in the Jalan Bukit Merah rented flats, said they intend to work with their current caterer to switch from white rice to mixed-grain rice provided that no additional costs are incurred.
The group does not have the “luxury budget” to pay for more expensive brown rice as they are a self-initiated community group, added Mr Goh, 36. The group distributes about 600 packets of lunch boxes to 300 elderly residents twice a month.
“The main concern for these needy residents is to ensure that the financial assistance they receive each month is able to cover the meals (for) the whole month and to fill up their stomach each day, (much less) think if these are healthier choices of food,” he noted.
While his group may be able to provide one or two healthy meals for the needy, it might not be sustainable in the long run, added Mr Goh.