It appears that confectionery giant Mars, the company behind M&M’s, wants you to eat less of its candy.
Reports have it that Mars is attempting to convince McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen and other fast-food chains to drop its candy goods from their dessert lineups in a bid to encourage moderate sweets consumption.
Reuters reported that an industry source familiar with current talks said Mars spoke to McDonald’s as well as other partners about its candies’ inclusion in their sugar-laden products, including the McFlurry. M&M’s boast of 7.5 teaspoons of sugar, which is around one-third of that present in every serving of the large McFlurry.
Recipe reformulations are another consideration, the source added.
Earlier in 2016, Mars strengthened its public stance that sweets should be consumed in moderation. It endorsed recommendations made by leading health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee, which urge limiting consumption of sugar – particularly added ones – to nothing over 10 percent of total calorie intake.
The company also backed a new U.S. government rule requiring food companies to disclose how much sugar they add in their offerings. To the surprise of many, Mars – also the manufacturer behind Snickers, Twix and Skittles – was the first candy maker to list calorie amounts on its product labels, with others in the industry moving along with the practice eventually.
It also halted the sale of its supersized candy bars and restricted candy packages to only 250 calories for each serving.
“We are now working alongside our suppliers and customers to bring this commitment to life,” a Mars spokesperson told Reuters in response to the report, declining to comment further.
Margot Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, lauded the decision to acknowledge one’s own food as something that should be eaten only occasionally.
“Maybe in private when you are talking to a company they’ll say, ‘yeah candy is a treat,’” she said in a CBS News report, hitting how the company’s advertising would, in reality, actually endorse its products as a necessary snack.
To others, Mars is missing the bigger picture, which is that it is still junk food, according to public health attorney Michele Simon. It remains, however, that the latest move from the biggest confectioner in the world reflects a movement against sugar in the food industry.
Obesity is an escalating issue worldwide, now affecting about 1.9 billion individuals. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, costs for treating obesity-linked diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes, have ballooned to $147 billion in 2008 dollars.
Taxing high-sugar and highly processed foods has been proposed to curb the growing epidemic, particularly in countries such as the United Kingdom.