Mars Food Launches Global Health And Wellbeing Ambition To Provide Consumers With More Nutritional Food And Inspire Cooking And Eating Together On-Package Guidance Will Help Consumers Make Healthier Choices between "Everyday" and "Occasional" Meals; Global Product Portfolio to Incorporate Reduced Sodium and Added Sugar, and More Whole Grains/Legumes Over the Next Five Years

BRUSSELS, April 14, 2016 /CNW/ -- Mars Food 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. The Health and Wellbeing Ambition will roll-out over the next five years and will focus 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. Through these initiatives, Mars Food will encourage families to share one billion more healthy meals at dinner tables around the world.

"We're incredibly proud and excited to share our new five year Health and Wellbeing Ambition," said 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."

"I'm delighted that Mars Food is helping to provide healthy solutions through our famous brands," stated Dawson. "Our Nutrition Criteria sets a very high standard for our products, and we also want to help our consumers understand the difference between 'everyday' and 'occasional' products within a balanced diet."

Through the Health and Wellbeing Ambition, Mars Food will help consumers differentiate and choose between "everyday" and "occasional" options. To maintain the authentic nature of the recipe, 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 its website regarding how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet. The Mars Food website will 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 to be reformulated over the next five years to reduce sodium, sugar, or fat.

In addition, Mars Food will improve its nutritional product composition through the reduction of added sugar and sodium and the addition of vegetables and whole grains across its global product portfolio. This builds upon the Mars Food Nutrition Criteria, which was developed based on recommendations from leading public health authorities such as the World Health Organization. To align the global product portfolio with this criteria, Mars Food will 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. Additionally, Mars Food will significantly expand multi-grain options so that half 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.

To help consumers shift taste preferences to lower sodium foods and improve overall health, Mars Food supports government efforts, such as those of the UK Food Standards Agency/Department of Health and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), to give guidance to industry on sodium reduction in foods.

"The food industry has already made great strides in reducing sodium, but we have more work to do to help consumers reduce sodium intake," said Dawson. "We support release of the U.S. FDA's draft sodium reduction guidance, because we believe it's important to begin a stakeholder dialogue about the role industry can play in this critical part of consumers' diets."

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 UNCLE BEN'S®, MASTERFOODS®, AND DOLMIO®, Mars Food hopes to build awareness about the value of shared meals and help consumers practice healthy cooking at home. Mars Food is also aware of how powerful on-pack recipes can be in influencing healthy cooking. All of Mars Food's everyday meal recipes on packaging and online will meet the Mars Food Nutrition Criteria and encourage the consumption of more vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Mars Food plans to foster nutritious cooking and eating practices among Associates 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 eating healthy meals at home is central to health and wellbeing, and we believe our brands should inspire our consumers to come together over a healthy meal," said Dawson. "Mars Food will practice what we preach by starting with our own Associates and helping them make informed, healthier food choices and cook meals together at our sites."

A central component to the Ambition is the reformulation of current products and the development of new products that provide enhanced nutrition at reasonable prices. Mars Food is committed to helping families and individuals create healthier lifestyles while maintaining affordability.

Mars Food's Health and Wellbeing Ambition will be incorporated across a global portfolio of brands including but not limited to UNCLE BEN'S®, MASTERFOODS®, and DOLMIO® in an effort to inspire consumers around the world to cook and eat healthier, together.

The Mars Food Health & 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.

Contact:

Lauren O'Learyloleary@apcoworldwide.com, 646-556-9323

About Mars Food

Mars Food is a fast-growing food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals for all consumers to enjoy.

Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Food is a leader in producing great tasting products.  Our portfolio includes the following brands: UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, SEEDS OF CHANGE®, MasterFoods®, SUZI WAN®, EBLY®, ROYCO®, KAN TONG® and RARIS®. In 2013, global sales were approximately $2 billion

Our ambition is to become a model business in the areas of health and nutrition and sustainability, as expressed by our purpose: Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow.

Mars Food is a segment of Mars, Incorporated.

About Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated is a private, family-owned business with more than a century of history and some of the best-loved brands in the world including M&M'S®, PEDIGREE®, DOUBLEMINT® and UNCLE BEN'S®. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Mars has more than $33 billion in sales from six diverse business segments: Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 80,000 Associates across 77 countries are united by the company's Five Principles: Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom and strive every day to create relationships with stakeholders that deliver growth we are proud of as a company.

For more information about Mars, Incorporated, please visit www.mars.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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