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NTUC FairPrice offering discounts on healthier rice products

SINGAPORE — From Monday (Aug 21) until the end of the month, NTUC FairPrice will have special discounts and offers on healthier rice products to encourage Singaporeans to eat healthily, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at Sunday night’s National Day Rally.

NTUC FairPrice offering discounts on healthier rice products

Brown rice in NTUC Fairprice. Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information.

SINGAPORE — From Monday (Aug 21) until the end of the month, NTUC FairPrice will have special discounts and offers on healthier rice products to encourage Singaporeans to eat healthily, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at Sunday night’s National Day Rally.

FairPrice is offering a discount of at least 10 per cent on eight such products, to moderate the cost of healthier food alternatives, the retailer said in a statement.

These range from brown, red, organic and low glycaemic index (GI) rice, such as the FairPrice house brands of brown unpolished rice, red unpolished rice and Thai blend rice.

Discounts will also be offered on products from other brands, including Golden Phoenix germinated jasmine rice, Bamboo Hill organic brown fragrant rice and Kangaroo low GI rice.

White rice may be potent in causing diabetes because of its high GI, the effect of which Mr Lee likened to “almost like eating sugar”, despite white rice not tasting sweet.

“When you eat white rice, your blood sugar will shoot up,” he warned.

Making a change in the kitchen, by replacing white rice with brown or mixed grain rice, could go some way towards curbing the spread of diabetes, he said. 

But for Singaporeans used to eating white rice, switching to brown rice may “take getting used to”, he noted.

He shared that at the Cabinet ministers’ weekly lunch before their Cabinet meeting — coined the PreCab lunch — they had switched to brown rice as a healthier option at the then Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s suggestion.

“But only very recently, I found out that some Ministers don’t like brown rice, so when we come to PreCab lunch, they don’t have (brown) rice ... then they go home and they eat white rice for dinner,” said Mr Lee, to laughter in the audience. 

As a “compromise,” Mr Lee said he is thinking of serving white rice mixed with brown rice, which may not be quite as healthy, but is “better tasting than all brown rice, and healthier than all white rice”.

Speaking to TODAY, FairPrice chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng said it has already teamed up with the Health Promotion Board to be part of the latter’s three-month-long Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge.

Using the Healthy 365 app, consumers can scan the QR code on receipts after buying healthy items to earn points, which can be redeemed for supermarket and food and beverage vouchers. 

While acknowledging that people can be “creatures of habit” who may be more familiar with cooking white rice, and its taste, Mr Seah said that price adjustments through promotions might “nudge” people in the right direction.

Confessing his fondness for carbohydrates, he said he is making the effort to cut down.

“Habits take a while to change, so there’s no silver bullet. You need to reinforce and repeat the (message) ... It starts with understanding the consequences,” he said.

“Nobody wants to end up in (an ill state), and there are ways to mitigate it, (like) the things we eat, and the lifestyle we adopt.”

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