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WOG Healthier Catering Policy

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Poor dietary choices (i.e. high intakes of sugar, refined staples such as white rice and noodles, saturated fat) are a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. As such, the Singapore government introduced a Whole-of-Government (WOG) Healthier Catering policy which came into effect on 1st April 2017, to encourage healthier eating as a norm outside the home, in our community and workplaces. 

The WOG Healthier Catering policy outlines what Government Procuring Entities (GPEs) must do to provide public sector employees and members of the public with healthy food and drink choices at government-organised functions and events, including trainings, conferences and meetings, where catered food is provided. 

Non-GPEs, e.g. hospitals and government-linked companies, are also strongly encouraged to follow the policy when ordering catered meals. 


Why introduce the WOG Healthier Catering policy?

The policy guidelines will make healthier catering the default in government-organised functions and events, including trainings, conferences and meetings. They aim to encourage higher consumption of whole-grains in place of refined starchy staples, and lower consumption of sugary drinks, saturated fat and high-calorie options.

What are the healthier catering guidelines?

Click on the accordion items below for an outline of the healthier catering guidelines. 
Menu Guidelines
Healthier beverages 
  • Caterer must offer plain water in all menus that include beverage(s).
  • Caterer offering freshly prepared coffee and tea must have syrup/sugar/milk/creamer served on the side, not pre-added.
  • [New guideline] By 1 May 2021, all pre-packaged beverages provided must meet the nutrient thresholds for Grades A or B under the Nutri-Grade, which are: ≤5 grams of free sugar and ≤1.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 ml of beverage.
  • [New guideline] By 1 December 20221, apart from coffees and teas, all other freshly prepared beverages must meet the nutrient thresholds for Grades A or B under the Nutri-Grade, which are: ≤5 grams of free sugar and ≤1.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 ml of beverage.
Healthier ingredients (wholegrains, healthier oils, lower-sodium)

  • Caterer must include wholegrains in all staple dishes2 (i.e. rice and noodle dishes). If there are no rice or noodle dishes, the staple-equivalents3 (i.e. bun, bread, pizza) must contain wholegrains. Menus and food labels must reflect that these dishes include wholegrains.
  • Caterer must use healthier cooking oils4 for all cooking and food preparation. Menus must reflect that healthier cooking oils have been used.
  • [New guideline] By 1 May 2021, caterer must use lower-sodium ingredients for all cooking and food preparation. Caterer can opt to use either:
    • Lower-sodium light and dark soy sauces, oyster sauce and seasonings; or
    • Lower-sodium salt; or
    • Both.
 Fresh fruits
  • Caterer must include fresh fruits as an option for all menus.
    • For menus which do not have the ‘Dessert and Fruits’ category, caterers must offer the option to substitute any other item with fresh fruit.
      For menus with ‘Dessert and Fruits’ category, fresh fruits must be an option offered under the category.
    • For menus with ‘Dessert and Fruits’ category, fresh fruits must be an option offered under the category.
Deep-fried menu items
  • Caterer must limit deep fried items to no more than the following: 
    •  No deep fried item allowed or buffet orders with ≤3 items;
    • 1 item for buffet line with 4-8 items (including dessert, excluding drinks)
    • 2 items for buffet line with ≥9 items (including dessert, excluding drinks); 
  • All deep-fried items must be clearly labelled (e.g. “DF”) on the menu. 

[1] The effective date of the guideline on freshly prepared beverages is set as 1 December 2022 tentatively, subject to changes by the HPB. The HPB will publish the finalised guidelines and effective date via the HPB website, at least 6 months in advance of the finalised effective date.

[2] All rice and noodle dishes must meet the wholegrain criteria in the HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol (“HCS”) nutrition guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.hpb.gov.sg/food-beverage/healthier-choice-symbol

[3] Staple-equivalents (i.e. bun, bread, pizza) must meet the wholegrain criteria in the HCS nutrition guidelines.

[4] Healthier oils include oils that carry the HCS and other plant-based oils (e.g. olive, canola, peanut, soybean and sunflower oil) containing 35% or less saturated fats.

Publicity Guidelines
Buffet line
  • Where possible, caterer must display the Health Promotion Board’s healthier catering visual identifier (e.g. prominently at the buffet line).
  • The Health Promotion Board healthier catering visual identifier can be downloaded here.

With the WOG adopting healthier catering, we aim to add to the overall demand for healthier food and drinks and to make healthier options more widely available in other settings as well.  
 

How to Order Healthy Catering
Government Procuring Entities (GPEs)

For GPEs, please approach your procurement officer or refer to the Government IM portal for more information.

For caterers that are keen to participate in government procurement, you may download the Healthier Catering Declaration Form here and submit to the procuring government agency upon completion.

Private Sector Buyers

Private sector buyers such as hospitals and government-linked companies are strongly encouraged to comply with the Healthier Catering guidelines as well.

Procuring officers may want to consider stipulating the following requirement in their new tenders and quotations:

“Caterers must comply with Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Healthier Catering guidelines, when proposing menu options, unless there are valid reasons acceptable to the Authority for not complying. Caterers are to submit a declaration of compliance to the Healthier Catering guidelines to the Authority.”

In addition, procuring officers may request for caterers to submit the Healthier Catering Declaration Form to ensure compliance with the Healthier Catering guidelines.