In industrialised countries, raw cow’s milk is processed before it is consumed. During processing, the fat content of the milk is adjusted, various vitamins are added, and potentially harmful bacteria are killed. In addition to being consumed as a beverage, milk is further processed to make butter, cream, yogurt, cheese, and a variety of other products.

Milk demand is on the rise in Singapore, according to a report from research firm Euromonitor International. In its September 2016 report, “Drinking Milk Products In Singapore: Sales of Drinking Milk Products by Category (Volume 2011-2016)”, the research firm reported that 53,386.6 tonnes was consumed in 2016 compared to 47,042.2 tonnes in 2011, which is equivalent to a 12% increase. But this increase in consumption is not specific to milk consumption by adults. Consumption of milk among adults has been steadily declining globally as reported by other countries like the United States and Canada (Lacroix et al., 2016). A similar trend is also seen in Korea where only 20% of adults aged 19 to 64 years consume milk more than once a day, and an inverse correlation was noted recently between decreased milk consumption and the increasing age of both men and women (Ministry of Health and Welfare, Korea, 2009).

However, the importance of milk consumption is ever more crucial especially with an increasing ageing population. Singapore is projected to have exponential growth in the number of elderly people in its population compared to some East Asian countries (Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) societies (France, Germany, Sweden and the United States) placing emphasis on nutritional concerns among the ageing population.

Evidence suggests that people are aware of the importance of milk and its products, especially for the positive effects of its calcium content on bone metabolism (Wham, 2001; Bus and Worsley, 2003; Wham and Worsley, 2003; Davis and Katz, 2013). But a sizeable part of the world’s population still does not consume the recommended amount of milk and dairy produce.

Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran is the Domain Lead for Applied Nutrition and Glycemic Index Research at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore.

Dr Kalpana championed the design, planning and implementation of the first accredited Glycemic Index Research Unit (GIRU) in Singapore and the region.

A qualified Nutritionist/Dietitian with more than 20 years of experience in nutrition research, lecturing, project management and consultancy services, Dr Kalpana is currently the Principal Investigator for five ongoing clinical research studies in the areas of Glycemic Index, Applied Nutrition and efficacy testing.

Dr Kalpana regularly acts as a food and nutrition consultant to local and overseas food companies, and was invited to sit on the Singapore Armed Forces Feeding and Institutional Catering Advisory Panel to offer her expertise in the area of food and nutrition. A frequently featured commentator in both print and broadcast media, Dr Kalpana is also often invited to speak at conferences and seminars.

Dr Kalpana is the Vice President of the Diabetic Society of Singapore, and a Council member of the Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association, where she heads the media relations sub-committee. She is also a member of the Singapore Heart Foundation and the Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Dr Kalpana was conferred the Commendation Medal in the 2014 National Day Honours in recognition of her work and its impact to diabetes management and education. She was awarded Temasek Polytechnic’s “Teaching Excellence Award” in 2009. In September 2017, her team was awarded the Innergy award by the Ministry of Education to recognise project teams who brought about significant benefits to stakeholders through their innovation efforts.

FrielsandCampina is one of the world’s largest dairy companies, providing millions of consumers around the world with food that is rich in valuable nutrients, ranging from infant and children’s nutrition, to condensed milk, dairy drinks, yoghurt and dessert.

Over the past 90 years, FrieslandCampina has established a presence in Asia, with many of its products becoming household names across the region – Dutch Lady, Frisian Flag, Foremost, Black & White and others have endeared themselves to consumers across the generations.

FrieslandCampina spreads the goodness of dairy around the region by actively contributing to food and nutrition security initiatives in Asia. The company is committed to being a responsible business, with the goal of creating a sustainable future for the communities that it serves.

Around the region, the health and nutrition landscape is heavily impacted by ageing populations, the double burden of malnutrition, and the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases. This necessitates an understanding of how consumers are behaving, their attitudes towards food and how in turn, companies like FrieslandCampina can help address the inadequacies to promote better health and nutrition. In recent years, there has been renewed focused on the health and well-being of Singaporeans, with the Government according the issue greater attention in its policy approaches. Greater investment in infrastructure and development of manpower for the health sector has been reinforced with a decision to declare war on diabetes, and the creation of the dedicated Nuture SG taskforce on enhancing health outcomes for young Singaporeans.

With a particular focus on the need to prevent chronic diseases, including diabetes, FrieslandCampina has commissioned this White Paper (“Paper”) to examine the dairy consumption patterns and habits of Singaporeans.

The Paper seeks to glean insight into the attitudes of adult Singaporeans towards milk, and better understand their consumption habits of milk, which has been established a source of nutrients such as calcium and protein for all stages of life.

Reaffirming its commitment to the role it can play in promoting good nutrition and healthy lifestyles amongst the people of Asia, FrieslandCampina hopes that the findings from the Paper will help to effect the discussion and action needed to not only promote the intake of milk, but also in reminding Singaporeans of the need for balanced and nutritious diets.

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