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Mars to label some products ‘occasional’ in health initiative

15 April 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White, Digital Content Producer

Mars Food are to create and promote healthier food choices to encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals- this includes adding guidance on products that should only be consumed once per week.


The company’s Health and Wellbeing Ambition will roll-out over the next five years and will focus on five main areas:

  • improving nutritional content;
  • providing consumers with more nutrition information to help them make more balanced choices;
  • inspiring consumers to cook and eat healthy meals with friends and family;
  • exploring new formats and opportunities to offer products in more places at affordable prices;
  • providing Mars Food Associates opportunities to improve wellbeing through nutrition education, cooking facilities, and healthier food options.

Commenting on the new initiative, Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales, said: “We’re incredibly proud and excited to share our new five year Health and Wellbeing Ambition. This Ambition advances our Purpose of creating Better Food Today and A Better World Tomorrow. As a busy mum 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.”

Dolmio pasta sauces to be labelled “occasional” products

Through the Health and Wellbeing Ambition, Mars Food has said will help consumers differentiate and choose between “everyday” and “occasional” options. To maintain the authentic nature of the recipe, some Mars Food products are higher in salt, added sugar or fat. As these products are not intended to be eaten daily, Mars Food will provide guidance to consumers on-pack and on its website regarding how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet. The Mars Food website will be updated within the next few months with a list of “occasional” products – those to be enjoyed once per week – and a list of “everyday” products – including those to be reformulated over the next five years to reduce sodium, sugar, or fat. According to the BBC, “Occasional” products will include Dolmio lasagne sauces, pesto, and carbonara and macaroni oven kits.

In addition, Mars Food has said will improve its nutritional product composition through the reduction of added sugar and sodium and the addition of vegetables and whole grains across its global product portfolio. Mars Food will reduce sodium by an average of 20 percent by 2021 and reduce added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018. Additionally, Mars Food will significantly expand multi-grain options so that half of all rice products include whole grains and/or legumes. Mars Food has said that it will also ensure all tomato-based jar products include a minimum of one serving of vegetables.

“The food industry has already made great strides in reducing sodium, but we have more work to do to help consumers reduce sodium intake,” said Dawson. “We support release of the U.S. 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.”

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