Mars Food is advising consumers that some of its products should only be consumed once per week.
The producer of Dolmio pasta sauces and Uncle Ben’s rice said on Thursday that, to maintain the authentic nature of the recipe, some of its products are higher in salt, added sugar or fat. On-pack guidance and information on its website will help consumers differentiate between “everyday” and “occasional” options.
This advice is part of the company’s new global Health and Wellbeing Ambition to create and promote healthier food choices.
Mars told BBC News that just 5 percent of its products would be labeled “occasional.” These include Dolmio lasagna sauces, pesto, and carbonara and macaroni oven kits.
The manufacturer also aims to improve the nutritional content of its products by reducing added sugar and sodium and adding more vegetables and whole grains across its global product portfolio.
Mars intends to reduce sodium by an average of 20 percent by 2021 and reduce added sugar in a limited number of sauces and light meals by 2018. It will expand multi-grain options so that half of all rice products include whole grains and/or legumes, and it will ensure all tomato-based jar products include a minimum of one serving of vegetables.
In a statement, Mars said that it supports government efforts, such as those of the U.K. Food Standards Agency/Department of Health and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), to give guidance to industry on sodium reduction in foods.
“The food industry has already made great strides in reducing sodium, but we have more work to do to help consumers reduce sodium intake,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Drinks and Multisales. “We support release of the U.S. FDA’s draft sodium reduction guidance because we believe it’s important to begin a stakeholder dialogue about the role industry can play in this critical part of consumers’ diets.”