Belgium-based Mars Food – producers of internationally well-known brands such as Uncle Ben’s, Dolmio, Seeds of Change, Royco and more – has announced a new global “Health and Wellbeing Ambition” which aims to create and promote healthier food choices.
According to a Mars Food press release, the Health and Wellbeing Ambition will roll out over the next five years, focusing 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; and providing Mars Food associates opportunities to improve wellbeing through nutrition education, cooking facilities, and healthier food options.
“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 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.”
As part of the Health and Wellbeing Ambition, Mars Food plans to help consumers differentiate between “everyday” and “occasional” options. For example, the press release explains that some Mars Food products are by nature higher in salt, added sugar or fat – so since these products aren’t intended to be eaten daily, Mars Food will provide consumer guidance on the package as well as on its website regarding how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet. The Mars Food website will also 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 that are expected to be reformulated over the next five years to reduce sodium, sugar, or fat.
Mars Food also plans to improve its nutritional product composition by reducing added sugar and sodium and adding vegetables and whole grains across its global product portfolio. This builds on the “Mars Food Nutrition Criteria,” which was based on recommendations from public health authorities including the World Health Organization. To align its products with this criteria, Mars Food plans to 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.
The company also plans to significantly expand multi-grain options so that half of all rice products include whole grains and/or legumes; and will also ensure that all tomato-based jar products include a minimum of one serving of vegetables.