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HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. -- Mars Inc. is the first U.S. confectionery company to voluntarily implement Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labeling on all of its candy and other food products.
All candy packages will be redesigned to feature new graphics on the front and back of packages to help consumers make informed choices at the point of purchase. This announcement is part of a global initiative Mars is undertaking around the world.
"Our redesigned labels are the latest examples of Mars' commitment to health and nutrition," said Bob Gamgort, president of Mars North America. "We make every effort to go beyond what is expected of a global food company."
The new label, referred to as "What's Inside," will begin appearing in December. It will be on chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010. The "What's Inside" label adopts the GDA graphics that initially appeared in Europe. GDAs feature the calorie totals in large type on the front of the products and highlight more detailed information in an easier-to-read box on the back of the product, including calories, fat, sugar and sodium.
Mars conducted market research earlier this year and found this style and design to be the clear favorite among consumers, contributing to the best information retention rates.
Mars also launched a new educational web site, www.marshealthyliving.com, which provides additional nutrition information about Mars products. Over the coming months, MarsHealthyLiving.com will debut tools to calculate caloric intake, tips for weight management and making healthy lifestyle choices and expert advice on healthy living.
In other news, Mars Snackfood US unveiled My M&M'S Candy Lab, a new online destination where consumers can put their face on virtual M&M's and make themselves talk or sing, according to the company.
For a limited time, visitors can then send their unique personalized creations to family and friends, while having the option of ordering real M&M's printed with an image of their face and messages.
"Thanks to the My M&M's Candy Lab, now everyone can see how much fun they can create by putting their face on M&M's," said Jim Cass, vice president and general manager of Mars Direct. "And by animating the face to talk or sing, MY M&M's Candy Lab allows our consumers to literally tell a friend about My M&M's Faces."
Visitors can upload their favorite face onto M&M's. On the site, www.mymms.com, they can type in a customized message to make their face talk (complete with moving lips and blinking eyes) on virtual M&M's or pick from a sample of songs their virtual face can sing. The personalized creations can then be emailed to friends and family or posted to a social networking site such as Facebook. Consumers can also purchase customized M&M'Ss featuring the face they've uploaded.