The National Confectioners Association (NCA) said last Thursday (May 11) these companies - including Lindt subsidiaries Ghirardelli, Russell Stover - would print calories front of pack for 90% of their best selling confections within five years.
The companies have also set up AlwaysATreat.com , a digital resource for consumers on confections and healthy lifestyles.
NCA said progress would be monitored by the Partnership for a Healthier America in reports conducted with research organization the Hudson Institute.
Mars reports success with lower calorie options
Mars’ director of external affairs, Anthony Guerrieri, told ConfectioneryNews: “We are seeing great success and growth whenever we offer consumers more choice at lower calorie options,”
“A great example of this growth is M&M’s: Sales in 2016 grew 10 times faster than the category. That’s because we introduced more options from new flavors to lower calorie points like M&M’s Crispy and Pretzel under 200 calories,” he said.
Currently, approximately one-third of Mars’ products are under 200 calories.
Mars invests $200m
The M&M’s maker said it invested $200m last year to introduce new products under 200 calories.
These investments include new R&D and manufacturing capabilities to offer more confectionery choices for consumers, Mars said.
“This can be seen in the recent launches of M&M’s Caramel, Maltesers and Snickers Crisper, as all are under 200 calories, as well as new 100 calorie version of Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Dove, 3 Musketeers, Skittles and Starbust,” the company added.
In a similar move, Hershey also recently included a calorie reduction goal in its five-year plan pledging that 50% of its total offering of individually wrapped standard- and king-size confectionery products will be 200 calories or less, this site previously reported.
Collaboration with the industry
Mars said it will also collaborate with other industry players, including Nestlé, Lindt, Ferrara Candy and Ferrero to further achieve its calorie reduction goal.
“Rather than make this announcement alone, we felt the best way to drive the most significant change was to do this together as an industry – it’s not about one company, it’s about doing what’s right for all of our consumer,” Guerrieri said.
“Together with this set of peers we represent over half of the confectionery category,” he said.
“While Mars was firs to replace ‘king size’ with portionable, resealable ‘sharing’ options, we are committed to pushing our peers to keep pace and follow our lead,” Guerrieri added.
“In order to help consumers understand that our products are treats, not snacks or meal replacements, the whole industry must change how we package and communicate so our products can be shared and saved.”
Adapting to new FDA nutrition labeling
Mars has also begun adapting to the new FDA’s nutrition facts panel, which requires larger and bolder calorie declarations on pack.
Mars does not have a firm percentage of the products that have changed their labels to share at this point, but confirmed it will meet all required deadlines.
Mars and Wrigley will host a panel presentation about enhancing the confectionery shopping experience in a changing retail landscape during the upcoming Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.