October 17, 2008
Mars First Confectionery Company to Launch Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling Globally
HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Mars, Incorporated today announced it is proud to be the first confectionery company in the US to voluntarily implement Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labeling on all of its chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products. All packages will be redesigned to feature new graphics on the front and back of packages, which contain consumer-friendly, clear and easy to understand nutrition information that will help consumers make informed choices at the point of purchase. This announcement is part of a global initiative Mars is undertaking around the world.
"Our redesigned labels are the latest examples of Mars' commitment to health and nutrition. By providing clear, concise and understandable information to consumers about what's inside all of our products, we will help them to make informed decisions about the foods they eat," said Bob Gamgort, president of Mars North America. "We make every effort to go beyond what is expected of a global food company."
The new label, referred to as "What's Inside," is designed to help consumers quickly and easily locate key nutrition information. The new labels will begin appearing in December and are designed to help consumers make informed choices about their diet. They will be on Mars US chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010. This voluntary initiative is part of a global effort of Mars to lead the food industry in creating a healthier environment.
The "What's Inside" label adopts the GDA graphics that have initially appeared in Europe. GDAs feature the calorie totals in large type on the front of the products and highlight more detailed information in an easier-to-read box on the back of the product, including calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Mars conducted market research earlier this year and found this style and design to be the clear favorite among consumers, contributing to the best information retention rates. The new GDA format forms part of a global commitment to health and nutrition that includes providing clear and transparent information to consumers and bold, innovative product development efforts.
Mars has also launched a new educational web site, http://www.marshealthyliving.com/, which provides additional nutrition information about Mars products. Over the coming months, MarsHealthyLiving.com will debut tools to calculate caloric intake and tips for weight management and making healthy lifestyle choices, as well as newsletters and expert advice on healthy living.
"Many Americans struggle to make smart decisions when it concerns their diet; it often is difficult to eat thoughtfully and carefully. The more information consumers get, the easier it will be for them to make good choices. I think the Mars program is a wonderful first step in the direction of better labels, more information, and better decisions," said Arthur Frank, M.D., medical director, George Washington University Weight Management Program, Washington, D.C.
The nutrition education initiative is the most recent demonstration of Mars' deep commitment to and leadership in health and nutrition. Other initiatives include:
-- FDA Whole Grain Health Claim. On May 6, 2008, the FDA announced it was extending the whole grain health claim to include brown rice. The FDA approval was initiated by a variety of organizations and companies, including the USA Rice Federation and Mars Food, which manufactures UNCLE BEN'S(R) and Seeds of Change(R) food products. While this is not a completely new claim, this is the first time the FDA has explicitly extended an existing health claim to include whole grain brown rice. Brown rice has always been a whole grain, but was previously excluded under the original whole grain health claim because it did not meet the required minimum level of fiber. The health claim now supports the single ingredient 'whole grains,' regardless of fiber content. -- Establishing strict guidelines for marketing to children. In February 2007, Mars was the first company to globally announce that we would not direct marketing of our snackfoods to children under 12 years of age. Mars has also joined other major food companies in signing the US Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and the European Food Pledge to make formal public commitments regarding responsible advertising to children. -- Improving the nutritional quality of snackfoods offered in schools. In September 2006, Mars partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (AHG) to offer healthier snack choices in schools to promote balanced eating by children during the school day. Created by The Clinton Foundation, the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the AHG has set specific guidelines for competitive foods offered in schools. Mars was one of the first five initial food companies to commit to this important school initiative, and the only company to develop an entirely new line of snackfoods that meet the stringent school nutrition standards. These Generation Max(TM) Snacks are offered to schools across the country today. -- Encouraging moderation through portion control. In ensuring the consumer has options to control their portions, Mars offers a range of sizes from miniatures, Fun Size(R) (which Mars originally created), regular single size, and multiple piece larger packages. We are in the process of modifying the King Size format to provide the option of sharing or saving half for later by dividing the bar into multiple portions. -- Maintaining US standards for real chocolate. In September 2007, Mars Snackfood US broke ranks with other major manufacturers and announced support of the current US Standard of Identity for chocolate, which does not allow cocoa butter substitutes to be used in chocolate. -- Leading global research into cocoa. Decades of Mars research has led to major innovations in the areas of health via cocoa flavanols; environmental, social and economic aspects via sustainable cocoa farming programs; and the historic and cultural importance of cocoa via the Historic Division of Mars, Incorporated and American Heritage Chocolate. -- Supporting pilot programs designed to improve health and nutrition curriculum. Mars has supported the Namaste Charter School in Chicago, Illinois since 2005. The school has a unique curriculum in which nutrition and physical activity are incorporated in classes throughout the day. Mars provided a grant to enable the school to develop and put their curriculum online to address the many inquiries they receive to help other schools accomplish the same thing. Mars also recently awarded 20 grants to teachers across the country who will implement their plans to incorporate health and wellness into their classrooms. -- Encouraging health and fitness among employees. Mars has continually enhanced its Associate (employee) Wellness program with gyms in our facilities, healthy cafeteria options, weight loss and smoking cessation programs among many other benefits. About Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned company that produces some of the world's leading confectionery, food and petcare products and has growing beverage and health & nutrition businesses. The confectionery division offers a wide range of products that include chocolate, gum, mints, hard and chewy candies.
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars operates in more than 70 countries and distributes its world-famous brands in more than 180 countries. Mars employs more than 65,000 associates worldwide. The company's global sales are over $27 billion annually.
Founded in 1911, the company manufactures and markets a variety of products under many of the world's most recognizable trademarks, including DOVE(R), MILKY WAY(R), M&M'S(R), SNICKERS(R), MARS(R), UNCLE BEN'S(R) Rice, and ROYAL CANIN(R), PEDIGREE(R) and WHISKAS(R) Petcare products. The Wrigley's SPEARMINT(R), JUICY FRUIT(R), and ALTOIDS(R) brands have heritages stretching back more than a century. Other well-loved brands include STARBURST(R), SKITTLES(R), DOUBLEMINT(R), LIFE SAVERS(R), BIG RED(R), BOOMER(R), PIM POM(R), WINTERFRESH(R), EXTRA(R), FREEDENT(R), HUBBA BUBBA(R), ORBIT(R), EXCEL(R), CREME SAVERS(R), ECLIPSE(R), AIRWAVES(R), SOLANO(R), SUGUS(R), P.K.(R), COOL AIR(R) and 5(TM). For additional information please visit http://www.mars.com/.
Contact: Marlene M. Machut Mars North America 908-433-6605 or 908-850-7935 [email protected] or Jeff Fox APCO Worldwide 212-300-1808 or 917-940-4991 [email protected]
CONTACT: Marlene M. Machut of Mars North America, +1-908-433-6605, or+1-908-850-7935, [email protected]; or Jeff Fox of APCO Worldwide,+1-212-300-1808, or +1-917-940-4991, [email protected], for Mars,Incorporated
Web Site: http://www.mars.com/http://www.marshealthyliving.com/