Candy Sundae

No More Sugar Bombs from Mars?

The world’s largest candy maker, Mars, is determined to stop dropping sugar bombs into the food supply. Reuters reports that the company has been in talks with McDonald’s to remove M&Ms from their McFlurry desserts. A 12 oz McFlurry with M&Ms has 89 grams of sugar. Compare that with new dietary guidelines that recommend no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 37.5 grams for men.

Mars is on a mission, industry experts say, to remove their brands from such sugar bombs. The company is talking with other partners, such as Burger King (which sells a Snickers pie) and Dairy Queen (which sells the Blizzard with M&Ms).

It’s part of a strategy to gain competitive advantage by shielding their brands from growing concern about the health effects of sugar coming from public health experts and consumers alike. As a privately held company, it may have more leeway to get out ahead of long-term nutrition issues than publicly traded competitors, such as Mondelez and Hershey. Mars was the first candy company in the U.S. to list calories and sugar up front on its candy labels. That action came in 2008. Competitors eventually followed suit.

The company seems quite serious about its very public commitment to bring its brands into line with “recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading global public health authorities.” Consider the fact that Mars publicly endorsed both FDA and USDA guidance and labeling for added sugars.

Yogurt makers – while wearing a health halo – fought against those proposals. Somehow they look like hypocrites by comparison.

Click here to read more from Reuters and here to read more from Shape.

Candy Sundae, photograph © Jedi Skittles / flickr

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June 21, 2016