Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, NTUC FairPrice, will distribute 200,000 pieces of the Fruit & Vegetables (F&V) Calculator, in support of the National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign in September.
The F&V calculator, a wheel chart, is the first of its kind in Singapore. Conceptualized by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), the F&V calculator shows the recommended number of servings of fruit and vegetables one needs to buy during each grocery shopping trip based on the number of family members and the frequency of shopping done each week. The calculation is based on HPB’s recommendation to Eat 2 Servings of Fruit + 2 Servings of Vegetables Every Day. This calculator is available in both English and Chinese.
The calculator will be given free of charge with any $30 purchase which includes fruit or vegetables items, at the FairPrice chain of supermarket stores from 1–14 September 2005, while stocks last and limited to one calculator per customer per receipt.
Mr Gerry Lee, General Manager of Purchasing & Marketing in NTUC FairPrice, said, “FairPrice understands the importance of a nutritionally-balanced diet. By providing the F&V calculator, we hope to make it easier for customers to determine how much fruit and vegetables to buy for the family.”
Sales of fruit and vegetables at FairPrice stores have gone up by more than 30% compared to three years ago. This could be attributed to an increasingly health-conscious population. With Singaporeans becoming more well-traveled and exposed to a wider range of exotic fruit, FairPrice has been bringing in a greater variety of fruit to meet customers’ preferences and taste. Some examples are champagne grapes, hami melons, golden kiwis, donut peaches, strawberries, blueberries and nectarines. Looking forward, sales of fruit and vegetables can be expected to grow by more than 10% every year.
The growing interest in fruit and vegetables among Singaporeans can be seen in the types of fairs that FairPrice has organized over the past year. In September last year, FairPrice launched the first ever Indonesian Fruits and Vegetables Fair in Singapore. In May 2005, more than 40 types of Thai vegetables and 15 varieties of tropical fruits were featured, while the Indian Mango Fair in June this year showcased more than 10 types of Indian mangoes.
Despite the encouraging trend of the sales and the growing interest in fruit and vegetables, 1 in 4 Singaporeans does not eat fruit at all according to the 2004 National Nutrition Survey. The F&V calculator, in this case, can serve to increase the public’s awareness of how much fruit and vegetables they lack in their diet, compared to the recommended amount. To this, Mr Lee added, “Highlighting how much one’s diet is short on fruit and veggies should spur people on to make up for at least a portion of it. A little intake is better than no intake.”
Dr Annie Ling, Head of Nutrition Department at the Health Promotion Board, agreed, “Some increases in fruit and vegetables intake, although not meeting the recommended level, can confer some protective effect against chronic diseases. Emerging data show that the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables go beyond antioxidant protection against chronic diseases – it also slows down brain aging.”
In addition to distributing the F&V calculator for this year’s National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign, participating Healthier Choice Symbol products will be specially priced at NTUC FairPrice stores from 1–14 Sept 2005.
About National Healthy Lifestyle 2005
This year’s National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign will focus on Workplace Health Promotion, with the theme “Healthy Worklife, Healthy Living”. Activities highlights include the Fruit & Vegetable Week @ HealthZone from 7-10 Sept 05, and the Healthier Food Trail in Sept 05. Check out http://www.healthylife.org.sg/ for more information.