So “When’sa your Dolmio day?” Apparently, it shouldn’t be every day.
Business giant Mars Foods, whose brands include Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s, plans on telling customers some of its products should only be eaten once a week.
The company has said it will divide its range of products into those that can be eaten “every day” and those that can be eaten only “occasionally” — ideally no more than once a week.
The move is part of a five-year health initiative.
Brands from Mars ‘main meal’ range, which includes Dolmio, Uncle Ben’s, and Masterfoods among others, will be part of the initiative.
However, brands from its chocolate, confectionary, and chewing gum range will not be part of the initiative.
The plan is part of the company’s efforts to promote eating healthy meals, with other measures including a cut in salt and sugar in some of its recipes and using more wholegrains.
As a result, any of its products that require high levels of sugar, salt and fat to preserve an “authentic” taste will carry advice on how sparingly they should be eaten, the company said.
Global president of Mars food, drinks, and multi-sales Fiona Dawson said the company had developed “very high” nutritional standards for its products, in light of recommendations by governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We also want to help our consumers understand the difference between ‘everyday’ and ‘occasional’ products within a balanced diet,” she said. The new guidance is to be rolled out over the next few months.
Mars also plans a reduction in the salt content of its products by an average of 20% by 2021.
Furthermore, there will be a cut by 2018 in the added sugar in a “limited” number of sauces and light meals.
The company plans to increase the number of multi-grain options in its range “significantly” so 50% of rice products will include wholegrains or legumes.
Its tomato-based sauces will also contain a minimum of one serving of vegetables.
“To maintain the authentic nature of the recipe, some Mars Food products are higher in salt, added sugar or fat. As these products are not intended to be eaten daily, Mars Food will provide guidance to consumers on-pack and on its website regarding how often these meal offerings should be consumed within a balanced diet.
“The Mars Food website will be updated within the next few months with a list of ‘occasional’ products — those to be enjoyed once per week — and a list of ‘everyday’ products — including those to be reformulated over the next five years to reduce sodium, sugar, or fat.”
In a major report on childhood obesity released in January, the WHO said there was strong evidence a sugar tax can be an effective means to tackle the problem of obesity alongside other measures like tackling large portion sizes and unclear labelling.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said he would have liked to see a sugar tax in Budget 2016 but his request was not granted.
A tax on sugar-sweetened drinks was one of the measures he proposed as a means of tackling obesity, particularly in the young.
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