Philips Foundation and The Food Bank Singapore partner to provide 24-7 contactless access to nutritious meals for lower-income families
The launch of the meal-dispensing vending machine is part of a broader educational initiative to alleviate food insecurity and provide better nutrition for lower-income groups.
Up to 45,000 beneficiaries from welfare groups working with The Food Bank Singapore will receive Philips Foundation-funded microchipped Bank Cards.
Singapore – Philips Foundation, with its mission to provide access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities through innovation, and The Food Bank Singapore have partnered to increase access to nutritious meals with the launch of three food-dispensing vending machines: two dry food-dispensing and one hot bento meal-dispensing vending machine.
Located at Blk 131 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, these machines are funded by the Philips Foundation and are part of a larger joint educational initiative, “Powering better living through access to nutrition”.
According to The Hunger Report (2020)1 by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, slightly over 10% of resident households in Singapore experienced food insecurity, during the period of July 2018 to June 2019.
This initiative therefore aims to increase individuals’ and households’ access to nutritious meals by making Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF)-endorsed meals available via the hot bento meal-dispensing vending machine. This initiative will also be supported by the dissemination of education materials to food beneficiaries on the use of healthy ingredients in meals and nutritious food preparation.
“Food support organizations play an important role in helping low-income and vulnerable families stretch their dollar. I am pleased to hear about this innovative initiative by Food Bank Singapore and Philips Foundation to both provide healthier meals, and empower beneficiaries to prepare nutritious meals and build healthy eating habits. This initiative is aligned with our cross-sector Charity Food Workgroup’s objective of providing nutritious and appropriate food choices, while minimizing food wastage and preserving choice for those in need.”
Mr Eric Chua
Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development
Up to 45,000 beneficiaries from welfare groups working with The Food Bank Singapore will receive Philips Foundation-funded microchipped Bank Cards over the next three months. Cardholders will have free access to hot bento meals and a variety of dry goods via card-compatible vending machines.
The dry food machine will dispense donated food from suppliers and consumers that might otherwise have gone to waste, like vermicelli, canned vegetables and meat and powdered beverage formulas, amongst others. The hot food machine, the first of its kind in Singapore, will dispense meals that have been curated in discussion with Singapore Heart Foundation and The Food Bank Singapore.
“Leveraging Philips’ expertise in health and wellness, this program aims to improve health equity by physically increasing access to nutritious meals and the execution of an educational outreach program for beneficiaries and the wider public,”“Philips has been part of the Toa Payoh community for close to 70 years now, and we are honored to undertake this meaningful initiative with The Food Bank Singapore’s expertise on population needs, and are grateful that Singapore Heart Foundation is onboard to dispense invaluable advice.”
Country Manager, Philips Singapore
The Hunger Report also found that more than 50% of respondents facing food insecurity were in the moderate to high risk BMI range. A majority (34.6%) valued affordability when determining food choices and cited cost, accessibility and lack of importance for not looking for healthier food options. The results are evident – nearly 50% of food-insecure participants reported feeling unwell and becoming lethargic (among other issues) due to a lack of access to food.
“Against the backdrop of recent increased food insecurity in Singapore, there is a pressing need to provide contactless, safe, and most importantly, nutritious and hot food options for many who do not have ready access to nutritious food. When developing these meals with the Singapore Heart Foundation, we took into consideration factors that would support sustainable habits for long-term health, like nutritional content, accessibility of ingredients, the population’s taste preferences and convenience of consumption.”
Chief Food Officer, The Food Bank Singapore
In the following months, collaborations under this initiative include the opening of a demo kitchen equipped with Philips appliances to facilitate education on healthy living and an educational cooking workshop series. These workshops will educate welfare beneficiaries and volunteers on how to prepare nutritious and convenient meals with accessible, everyday ingredients. This approach aims to change the beneficiaries’ everyday eating habits, which currently tend to prioritize convenience foods over high-nutrition foods.
“The Singapore Heart Foundation’s role in offering nutritional advice for the meals curated is part of our mission to educate and motivate the public to adopt heart-healthy lifestyles. To create a well-balanced meal, we have included most food groups that one generally requires, i.e., grains/noodles, protein-rich food, and vegetables. The usual refined carbohydrates (e.g., white bee hoon, white rice) are also substituted with unrefined carbohydrates (e.g., red rice vermicelli, brown rice) for better health benefits. We are excited to embark on the upcoming educational workshops and hope to encourage improved food consumption habits amongst the target audience gradually.”
Mr Vernon Kang
Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Heart Foundation
The vending machines have been in use since 27 October.
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2019 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 81,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter
Ms Nichol Ng, Co-founder, The Food Bank Singapore announces Philips Foundation-Food Bank Singapore partnership with Ms Ivy Lai, Country Manager, Philips Singapore, in front of the first such vending machine in Singapore
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