Mars today announced a new global Health and Wellbeing Ambition to create and promote healthier food choices and to encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals with others. Through these initiatives, Mars Food will encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals with others. Through these initiatives, Mars Food will encourage families to share one billion more healthy meals at dinner tables around the world.
General Manager of Mars Food Australia, Hamish Thomson, said that as the makers of some of Australia’s most loved brands including MASTERFOODS®, DOLMIO®, KAN TONG® and UNCLE BEN’S®, the company has a responsibility to help Australians consume more balanced diets and to be transparent about our products to help customers make informed choices.
In Australia we have been working since 2007 to remove salt and sugar from our products and to increase the serves of vegetables in our recipes. This Ambition makes a number of additional commitments that will help us realise our Food Purpose of Better Food Today, Better World Tomorrow.
Mr. Thomson continued to say that the Health and Wellbeing Ambition will guide product development to continue to improve the nutritional content of our portfolio and provide consumers with more information to help make informed, balanced choices.
We are also committed to inspiring consumers to cook and share healthy meals.
Our health and wellbeing ambition
The Mars Health and Wellbeing Ambition will cover five key initiatives:
- Reductions in sodium and added sugar: Mars Food has set nutrition targets for its product portfolio – based on science. This includes targets for sodium and added-sugar reduction based on nutrition guidance recently issued by the World Health Organization and other leading public health authorities. To align the global product portfolio with this Criteria, Mars Food will reduce sodium by an average of 20 per cent by 2021 and reduce added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018.
- Labelling to highlight the difference between ‘everyday meals’ and ‘occasional products’: To maintain the authentic nature of recipes, some Mars Food products are higher in salt, added sugar or fat. As these products are not intended to be eaten daily, Mars Food will provide guidance to consumers on-pack and on the Mars Food website. Recommendations will detail how often products with higher levels of sugar, salt or fat should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, helping consumer to choose between ‘everyday’ and ‘occasional’ options.
- More fruits, vegetables and whole grains in products: Mars Food will significantly expand multi-grain options so that 50 per cent of all rice products include whole grains and/or legumes. Mars Food will also ensure all tomato-based jar products include a minimum of one serving of vegetables.
- Making our products more accessible:Mars Food will be introducing new products in developed and emerging markets to provide more people with greater access to healthier, convenient products.
- Inspiring cooking and healthy eating at home:Mars Food is dedicated to inspiring people to cook healthy meals at home with friends and family. Multiple studies have demonstrated that families who cook and eat together are healthier and happier. Through leading brands such as MASTERFOODS®, DOLMIO® and UNCLE BEN’S®, Mars Food hopes to build awareness about the value of shared meals and help consumers practice healthy cooking at home. The recipes on Mars Food product labels – and in-store promotions – will meet nutrition criteria and encourage an increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
“We’re incredibly proud and excited to share our new five year Health and Wellbeing Ambition,” said Mr. Thomson. “Our ambition is to deliver one billion more healthy meals around dinner tables around the world so that we can make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our consumers. This is – and needs to be – a long term strategy to drive real change. ”
Mars Food Australia has already made significant progress to improve the nutritional profile of products by:
- Agreeing to adopt the Australian Government’s Health Star Rating on front of pack
- Removing 282 tons of salt and 960 tons of sugar from our product range (since 2007)
- Increasing the number of fresh vegetables added to our recipe bases by 1 million kilograms per year – or 13.3 million serves per year to the diet of Australians
- Reducing trans fats by 97%
To help its Associates lead healthier lives, Mars Food also plans to foster nutritious cooking and eating practices by providing access to worksite kitchens, fitness facilities, nutrition education and healthy, affordable meals in cafeterias. All Associates will have the opportunity to learn how to cook convenient, affordable and nutritious recipes that they can share with one another and their families to instill a culture of healthy cooking and eating.
“Cooking and sharing healthy meals at home is central to our physical and mental health and wellbeing, and we believe our brands should inspire our consumers to come together over a healthy meal,” said Mr. Thomson. “Mars Food will start with our own Associates and give them the skills and knowledge to make informed, healthier food choices and cook meals together at our sites.”
The Mars Food Health and Wellbeing Ambition is part of a broader Mars, Incorporated commitment to enhance the health and wellbeing of people around the world through continuous improvements in our foods, responsible marketing, ongoing efforts to raise food safety standards globally, and a commitment to finding multi-stakeholder solutions to address obesity. For more information, please visit www.mars.com/food-health-wellbeing and engage in the #BetterFoodToday conversation on Twitter with @MarsGlobal