The study is the first of its kind to examine the key drivers of and barriers to milk consumption among adult Singaporeans. Consumption of milk among adults in Singapore has been steadily declining.
Led by Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran, domain lead for applied nutrition & glycemic index at Temasek Polytechnic in Tampines, Singapore, the study drew on published research and findings from focus group discussions conducted in 2017 among 30 participants aged 18 to 65 years old.
These groups provided qualitative data on the attitudes, beliefs and barriers regarding milk consumption, as well as actions to increase consumption.
Analysis of the group discussions found the majority of participants did not view milk as an essential daily source of nutrition. Participants cited milk’s perceived contribution to weight gain, gastrointestinal side effects and taste as barriers.
The study said participants massively overestimated the percentage of fat content within full fat milk category. Participants perceived milk as a high fat food with fat content ranging 15 to 46%, when the fat content is less than 4%. As fat content and weight gain were cited as key concerns and barriers to milk consumption, the author said this needs to be addressed.
The study said there is also a prevalent ignorance of milk’s benefits beyond calcium. Existing literature from Singapore’s National Health Survey also found 50% of adult Singaporeans do not consume any milk.
Bhaskaran said, “It is interesting to note that while there is an increasing demand for milk and dairy in Singapore, the increase in milk consumption is not specific to adults. With a growing aging population, it is important to educate and inform people of milk’s benefits to general health and prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis.”
Hendro Poedjono, corporate affairs director, FrieslandCampina AMEA, said, “Our collaboration with Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran aims to address the gaps in health and nutrition education. We hope that through collaborative efforts with public and private sectors, we can raise the level of health and nutrition status of Singaporeans of all ages now and in the future.”