October 17/Hackettstown, N.J./PRNewswire -- Mars Inc. announced it is the first confectionery company in the U.S. to voluntarily implement Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) nutrition labeling on all of its chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products. All packages will be redesigned to feature new graphics on the front and back of packages, which contain consumer-friendly, clear and easy to understand nutrition information that will 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. By providing clear, concise and understandable information to consumers about what's inside all of our products, we will help them to make informed decisions about the foods they eat," 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," is designed to help consumers quickly and easily locate key nutrition information. The new labels will begin appearing in December and are designed to help consumers make informed choices about their diet. They will be on Mars' U.S. chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and other food products by the end of 2010. This voluntary initiative is part of a global effort of Mars to lead the food industry in creating a healthier environment.

The "What's Inside" label adopts the GDA graphics that have 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. The new GDA format forms part of a global commitment to health and nutrition that includes providing clear and transparent information to consumers and bold, innovative product development efforts.

Mars has also launched a new educational website, www.marshealthyliving.com, which provides additional nutrition information about Mars' products. Over the coming months, MarsHealthyLiving.com will debut tools to calculate caloric intake and tips for weight management and making healthy lifestyle choices, as well as newsletters and expert advice on healthy living.

"Many Americans struggle to make smart decisions when it concerns their diet; it often is difficult to eat thoughtfully and carefully. The more information consumers get, the easier it will be for them to make good choices. I think the Mars program is a wonderful first step in the direction of better labels, more information, and better decisions," said Arthur Frank, M.D., medical director, George Washington University Weight Management Program, Washington, D.C.

From the October 27, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash