Mars, one of the largest candy companies in the world, has announced that it supports government recommendations for consumers to limit their sugar intake. The company wants to play a part in addressing the "health and nutritional challenges facing our society."
Mars is well known as the maker of M&M’s, Snickers and Twix. The company made its announcement on limiting consumer sugar intake by backing a proposal by U.S. regulators to include measurements of added sugar in the Nutrition Facts labels on food packaging. On May 7, Mars also submitted a letter to government officials endorsing recommendations by global health authorities, such as World Health Organization and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, that people limit their added sugar intake to 10 percent of their daily calories.
"Supporting global public health efforts to limit society's consumption of added sugars and labeling our products transparently are steps in the right direction for us and will benefit everyone who enjoys Mars products," the company said in a statement.
This is the latest announcement from food companies making high profile, health-related changes to their products. In February, Nestle stated that it would be the first major candymaker to remove all artificial flavors and colors from its chocolates, and plans to achieve this goal by the end of 2015.
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Both Chipotle and Panera Bread have recently removed genetically-modified foods from their menus, while in April, Kraft Foods announced that it would remove artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its macaroni and cheese products.
Food companies use added sugars and syrups to not only make foods sweeter, but to give them longer shelf-life. Mars, which brings in over $33 billion in annual sales from 73 countries, uses added sugars in many of its products. However, according to Michael Jacobson, head of the consumer advocacy group, Center for Science in the Public Interest, consumers are more likely to be shocked at the amount of added sugar in pasta sauce and bread compared to candy.
Currently, Mars doesn’t specify the amount of added sugar in its product food labels and says that it doesn’t plan to unless the FDA changes labeling standards.
“We know candy itself is not a diet,” said Dave Crean, global head of research and development at Mars. “It shouldn’t be consumed too often, and having transparency of how much it should be consumed is actually quite helpful to consumers.”
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