The food manufacturer, which produces Dolmio sauces and Uncle Ben’s rice products, has advised consumers to eat some of its products once a week, as they are higher in salt, added sugar or fat than other product in its range. This is in order to maintain their “authentic” taste.
Mars Food said it would help consumers globally to differentiate and choose between “everyday” and “occasional” options.
It pledged to provide guidance to consumers on-pack and on its website detailing how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet over the next few months.
Occasional and everyday products
Its website will be updated within the next few months with a list of “occasional” products, which should be eaten once a week. A list of “everyday” products, including those to be reformulated over the next five years to reduce sodium, sugar, or fat, will also be listed.
This strategy has been revealed as part of a new global Health and Well-being Ambition to create and promote healthier food choices and to encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals with others.
To be rolled out over the next five years, the initiative will focus on five main areas: improving nutritional content; providing consumers with more nutrition information; inspiring consumers to cook and eat healthy meals with friends and family; exploring new formats and offering products in more places at affordable prices and providing its own staff with opportunities to improve well-being through nutrition education, cooking facilities, and healthier food options.
Reduce added sugar
Mars said it would reduce sodium by an average of 20% by 2021 and reduce added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018.
Additionally, half of all its rice products will include whole grains and/or legumes and all tomato-based jar products will include a minimum of one serving of vegetables.
This builds upon the Mars Food Nutrition Criteria, which was developed based on recommendations from leading public health authorities such as the World Health Organization.
Global president of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales Fiona Dawson, said: “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.
“Our nutrition criteria sets a very high standard for our products, and we also want to help our consumers understand the difference between ‘everyday’ and ‘occasional’ products within a balanced diet.”
Mars Foods products affected by the advice
- Uncle Ben’s
- Seeds of Change
- Kan Tong Sauces
- Abu Siouf
- Suzi Wan