Kudos to Mars for their valiant efforts to curb obesity! I’m so glad that I can quit my work on improving the food environment and will no longer have to rant on here about the food industry because Mars is leading the way. With their pledge “Not to ship any Mars chocolate products that exceed 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013” it won’t be long before everyone has attained their healthy weight.
But wait, how many calories were Mars Bars to begin with? After a little bit of searching (funny how difficult it was to find the website that included Mars Bars nutrition information) I learned that a single 58 gram Mars Bar contains 250 kcal (or 260, depending which chart you look at on the page). Wow, so Mars is promising to cut zero to ten calories from their standard Mars Bar. I’m sure that’s going to have a considerable impact on the obesity epidemic. Perhaps if we were all consuming a Mars Bar per day, but I’m going to o out on a limb here and assume that the vast majority of us are not. Mars does ship other chocolate bars as well as Mars. Perhaps there will be increased benefits from cutting calories from those bars? 3 Musketeers (marketed as a ”light treat”) is currently sitting pretty at 260 kcal. Snickers comes in tops at 280 kcal. So, basically, it seems that Mars is promising to shave from zero to 30 calories off each of its chocolate bars. Who wants to take the bet that this will be done purely by reducing the total size of each bar? This way, Mars can save money and save us from our gluttonous ways, win-win!
I’d also like to point out the careful wording of this statement. First, it’s a “target” and we all know that targets are not always achieved. Second, this 250 calorie limit is per portion. This absolves Mars from actually making any changes to their chocolate bars. All they actually have to do is change the labels. As long as the portion size indicated on the label complies to the 250 calorie maximum Mars will have met its target.
It should also be kept in mind that chocolate bars are not a great source of essential nutrients. Marginally reducing the overall number of calories in a Mars Bar does not make it any healthier of a choice.