February 16/McClean, Va./Daily Mail -- Confectionery giant Mars Inc. has announced plans to cap the calorie content of its chocolate. The maker of Snickers and Twix candy bars will stop selling chocolate products with more than 250 calories in them by the end of next year on a worldwide basis, a spokesperson said.     

The company, which also makes M&Ms and Skittles candies and Juicy Fruit chewing gum, said the goal is part of an ongoing effort to improve the nutritional value of its products and to sell them in a responsible way.

The new calorie limit target means fans of the 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar might want to enjoy the big bar while they can. By 2014, it will be gone, part of what Mars says is a broader push for responsible snacking.   

It will not include “duo packs”' or larger family bars, which will be allowed a higher calorie allowance because they are designed to be shared, a spokesperson said.

In 2007, the privately held company said it would stop buying advertising time or space if more than a quarter of the audience was likely to be under 12 years old.    

Mars has also said it will reduce sodium levels in all its products 25% by 2015.       

Spokeswoman Marlene Machut said the plan to stop shipping any chocolate product that exceeded 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013.

It was a target first announced last fall and is part of Mars' “broad-based commitment to health and nutrition.”

 From the February 17, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.