Candy maker Mars favors FDA proposals to list added sugar on labels

By Lauren R. Hartman, Product Development Editor

May 11, 2015

Mars Inc. says it is endorsing proposals by the FDA to list added sugar on labels. The proposals suggest that added sugars should be listed on the Nutritional Facts panels found on candy packaging. The move has reportedly been called "refreshing" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Mars also stated that it supports recommendations from health authorities that advise people to limit their sugar intake, particularly the kind that's added to foods, to no more than 10 percent of their total calories.

One of the most important ways we can help is by giving consumers clear information about what’s in the products we manufacture so they can make informed dietary choices,” Mars said in a statement. "The world’s leading health authorities—including the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and the U.K. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition—have recommended that people limit their intake of sugars...Mars supports this recommendation," the company continued.

Mars says that while its chocolate and confectionery treats contain sugar, it says that the sugar should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. The company is hoping consumers will understand the relationship between added and total sugars in the context of their daily caloric needs. The move comes as many major food manufacturers and restaurant companies are attempting to increase their transparency with consumers about the food products they make or market.

It's hard to believe that Mars, which makes M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles and other sweet candies, is advocating a limit on sugar. But it's statement that it's building on the steps it has taken over time to help consumers achieve their nutritional goals, is well timed, considering that a growing number of consumers are opting for more fresh produce, lean meat and less red meat over processed food items and are increasing skeptical of mass produced foods. The changes are affecting sales at various channels, including restaurants, convenience stores and supermarkets. Found in candy, cookies, desserts like cakes and soft drinks, added sugars are put into foods during preparation and processing. Unlike naturally occurring sugars found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, added sugars or syrups.

Mars issued its statement as part a public comment period following a 2015 report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). The company says it applies Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labeling to all of its chocolate, food and sugar confectionery products and limits its confectionery products to no more than 250 kcal per serving. It also offers sugar-free and low sugar Wrigley gum and has reformulated products to reduce trans fatty acids, and reduced salt and saturated fats in its product portfolio.

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