Mars Food is telling customers to lay off the sauce, literally. The Brussels-based food unit of Mars, Inc. says it will begin labeling some of its products—including Dolmio pasta sauces and Uncle Ben’s, among others—as occasional treats meant for once-a-week consumption. The changes are part of a new global health and wellness initiative launched earlier this month to create and promote healthier food choices and encourage consumers to prepare and share healthier meals with others. The new policy will not apply to sweet treats such as M&M’s
“We’re incredibly proud and excited to share our new five-year Health and Wellbeing Ambition,” says Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Drinks and Multisales. “This ambition advances our purpose of creating Better Food Today and A Better World Tomorrow. As a busy mom myself, I know how tricky it can be to find healthy meals which everyone in the family will enjoy, and of course, they often need to be quick and easy to prepare.”
To help consumers decide which products are best suited for their diet, Mars is updating its website to catalogue products as either “occasional” foods—those enjoyed once per week—or “everyday” foods—products intended to be eaten every day. The company will also add this labeling guidance to its packaging..
In addition, Mars is improving its nutritional product composition by reducing added sugar and sodium and adding vegetables and whole grains across its global product portfolio. Mars says it will reduce sodium by an average of 20 percent by 2021 and decrease added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018.
“The food industry has already made great strides in reducing sodium, but we have more work to do to help consumers reduce sodium intake,” says Dawson. “We support the release of FDA’s draft sodium reduction guidance, because we believe it’s important to begin a stakeholder dialogue about the role industry can play in this critical part of consumers’ diets.”