Mars Incorporated has announced its support of two recommendations designed to help consumers limit their intake of added sugar and live healthier lives. The company says it endorses the recommendation made by leading health authorities that suggests people limit their intake of added sugars to no more than 10 percent of total calorie intake. In addition, Mars—which makes brands such as M&Ms, Snickers and Twix—says it supports the US government’s proposal to include an “added sugars” declaration in the nutrition facts panel on all food packaging.
So-called “added sugars” are sugars and syrups added to foods to improve sweetness, structure, texture and shelf life. These are distinct from sugars that are “intrinsic” to foods, such as lactose in dairy or fructose and glucose in bananas.
“We want people to enjoy Mars brands as part of a well-balanced diet,” says Dave Crean, global head of research and development at Mars. “With this in mind, we support the recommendation of global health experts that consumers limit their intake of added sugars to 10 percent of their calorie intake. In the US, we have a further opportunity to help people achieve their dietary goals by supporting the government’s proposal to include added sugars in the nutrition facts panel. It just makes good sense.”
In comments sent to USDA and HHS regarding the report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Mars said it supports labeling and educational approaches that aim to provide consumers with the information needed to make decisions about sugar intake. The company also supports the committee’s recommendations on a sodium daily allowance limited to 2,300mg/day.
The company says it recognizes the critical role the food industry must play in helping consumers achieve nutritional goals. “We believe innovative approaches should be considered that can help consumers more easily monitor and reduce their added sugar consumption…We also believe that we, and others in the confectionery industry, have a larger role to play in offering consumers more options,” Mars stated in its comments.
However, the company states the committee-proposed specific policy recommendations relating to local, federal economic/tax policies, food assistance programs, healthcare and education were provided without “rationale and evidence to support and justify these recommendations.”
Mars has a history of making moves to support similar health measures. Currently, the company includes guideline daily amount labeling on all chocolate, food and sugar confectionery products; has reformulated products to eliminate trans fatty acids; has reduced salt and saturated fats in products; and limits its confectionery products to no more than 250kcal per serving. The company also adheres to a code that prohibits targeting any marketing communications to children under 12 for food, chocolate, confections and gum products.
As the company makes strides in staying committed toward healthy diets in the future, Mars says it will:
-Support new labeling approaches (on pack and digital), where such approaches are supported by a coalition of science and nutrition experts, regulators, retailers, industry leaders and NGOs
-Increase the number of chocolate confections below 200kcal per pack
-Continue efforts to improve the nutritional composition of its product portfolio
-Promote the oral health benefits of sugar-free gum.