Company Behind M&M’s, Snickers Endorses “Added Sugars” Label For Foods

Of all the companies to advocate for alerting consumers to added sugars, the country’s most famous candy maker would be probably be among the least likely. But yesterday, Mars Inc. — the company behind M&M’s, Snickers, Milky Way, and Twix — gave its corporate stamp of approval to the idea of limiting the use of added sugars and labeling those products that contain extra sugar.

In a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mars gave its endorsement to recommendations from regulators to measurements for added sugars to products’ Nutrition Facts labels.

“The world’s leading health authorities — including the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition — have recommended that people limit their intake their intake of sugars, particularly those added to foods, to no more than 10% of total energy/caloric intake,” writes Mars in a statement. “Mars supports this recommendation.”

Mars says it currently limits its products to 250 calories per serving, but that it will seek to add more products with fewer than 200 calories/serving.

Jim O’Hara, Health Promotion Policy Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, applauded Mars for publicly supporting these regulatory recommendations.

“Consumers need to know how much added sugar is in their food and beverages to make healthy choices,” says O’Hara. “The best way to do that is having an ‘added sugars’ line on Nutrition Facts panels to distinguish those sugars from the naturally occurring sugars in fruit or milk ingredients… As the process continues, we hope Mars will show continued leadership on other reforms such as expressing added sugars in teaspoons, not just in grams.”