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Mars, Inc. said Friday it would be the first American confectionery company to voluntarily implement Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labeling on all of its chocolate, nonchocolate confectionery, and other food products worldwide.
All packages will be redesigned to feature new graphics on the front and back of packages, which will contain consumer-friendly, easily understandable nutrition information, with the aim of helping consumers make informed choices at the point of purchase, the company said.
The new label, dubbed "What's Inside," will begin appearing in December. They will be on Mars U.S. chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010.
The "What's Inside" label adopts the GDA graphics that first appeared in Europe. GDAs provide the calorie totals in large type on the front of the products and highlight more detailed information in an easy-to-read box on the back of the product, including calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. In market research conducted this year, Mars found that consumers preferred this style and design, which contributed to the best information retention rates.
Mars has additionally launched an educational Web site, http://www.marshealthyliving.com/, which offers additional nutrition information on Mars products. Over the coming months, MarsHealthyLiving.com will introduce online tools to calculate caloric intake and tips for weight management and making healthy lifestyle choices, in addition to newsletters and expert advice on healthy living.
"Our redesigned labels are the latest examples of Mars' commitment to health and nutrition," noted Bob Gamgort, Mars' North America president.
Other aspects of Mars' global commitment to health and nutrition include no longer engaging in direct marketing of its snack foods to children under the age of 12, working to improve the nutritional quality of snack foods offered in schools, encouraging moderation through portion control, and leading global research into cocoa.
McLean, Va.-based Mars, Inc. is a family-owned company that produces some of the world's leading confectionery, food, and pet care products and has growing beverage and health and nutrition businesses. The confectionery division, based in Hackettstown, N.J., offers a wide range of products that include chocolate, gum, mints, and hard and chewy candies. Among its famous candy brands are Dove, Milky Way, M&M's, Snickers, and Mars.