Confectionery giant Mars Snackfood Australia is announcing this weekend that it has reduced the weight of its major chocolate bar brands. Mars Bars have dropped in size from 60g to 53g, making them 11.6% lighter.
Mars Snackfood Australia general manager, Peter West, said the move was in direct response to Australia’s obesity debate, and the company’s bars had too many calories.
“Big food is an issue,” said West. “The portion size that people are eating, whether the muffin you buy, or the cake, or when you go to a restaurant, the size of the plate in front of you. We want to make sure we sell our portions in the right size.”
West said 30 million Mars Bars are sold in Australia every year. Based on that sales figure, the company will save 210,000kg of chocolate, caramel and nougat every year with the smaller bars. He added that the current price of Mars Bars (from A$1.70) hadn’t decreased, though some of its other brands would be cheaper.
All of Mars’ 90 products will be downsized, including Milky Way, Snickers, Maltesers and Twix.
In advertisements released at the end of May, Mars Snackfood said: “Our products are never going to be as healthy as a piece of fruit. But we also recognise that our consumers have become increasingly concerned about the nutritional content and portion size they eat.”
The company also said it will provide clearer nutritional labelling and remove artificial colours and flavours from Mars, Snickers and Milky Way.
Nutritionist and GP Dr Manny Noakes welcomed the decision to slim down the bars: “It’s a tremendous move. It’s all about portion control and paying the same for less isn’t a bad thing, and I think we can still enjoy it.”
Consumer group Choice also supported the decision: “A cynic would say it’s about dollars, but at least they’re being transparent about it, because there are plenty of other companies who cut the size of their products,” said spokesperson Elise Davidson. “It’s interesting their transparency involves a good PR line about health concerns, but I wouldn’t like to be too cynical.”
Source: The Sunday Mail, Queensland
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