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Candy Bar Makers Putting King-Size Snacks On Lo-Cal Diet

Candy Bar Makers Putting King-Size Snacks On Lo-Cal Diet
2/17/2012 9:58 AM ET

After decades of tempting us down the road to obesity, candy bar makers may be having a change of heart, targeting a slew of slightly healthier products at calorie-conscious customers.

Privately-held Mars, maker of guilty pleasures like Snickers and Twix, knows that their over-sized, sugar-packed, gut-busting candy bars have become increasingly taboo. Customers, many of them obese and at risk of cardiovascular disease, are under pressure to trim down due to the soaring health-care costs. And with folks struggling to pay their mortgage, who needs an expensive visits to the dentist's office?

Mars, which produces seven of the world's 20 best-selling chocolate brands, is sensing an opportunity to distinguish itself from its competitors.

In a bold move, the company says it will not ship any Mars products that exceed 250 calories per portion from the end of 2013.

"Responsible snacking" may take the fun out of indulging, but Mars is betting it will fatten its yearly profits.

The move will see the company slash the size of its calorie-packed king-size Snickers and Twix candy bars as part of its ongoing effort to improve the nutritional value of its products.

Mars is chief among the 16 companies that have pledged to cut more than 1.5 trillion calories from their foods by the end of 2015.

The Partnership for a Healthier America, including Mars, Hershey, Nestle, Kellogg, and PepsiCo, have pledged to provide lower-calorie options and cut portion sizes.

Going further, Mars aims to reduce sodium levels by 25 percent by 2015, and claims to have removed 97 percent of trans fats from its chocolate products.

It is also the first food company that made a commitment not to target children under 12 years of age when advertising food, chocolate or confectionery products globally.

The company is now test-marketing a brand new line of snacks aimed at dieters looking for a sweet fix. Its goodnessKnows bars will have more fiber and protein, but contain only 150 calories and 20 to 35 milligrams of sodium.

Mars has also made commitments in Europe, joining Nestlé, Ferrero, Orangina and Mars in a successful program to fight obesity in a number of nations, including France.

The companies are committed in enhancing the nutritional content of their snacks and renovating their chocolate products to reduce saturated fats and decrease calories per serving and innovating to give consumers greater choice.

However, the companies are not focusing on sugar reduction as part of their campaigns against obesity. They have announced no plans to cut the amount of sugar, which does contribute to the obesity.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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