Don’t eat some of our sauces more than once a week, says maker of Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s

The Mars food factory, Hardwick Industrial Estate, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Mars food factory, Hardwick Industrial Estate, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The maker of some of Britain's most popular pasta sauces plans to tell customers some of its products should only be eaten once a week.

Mars Food, which has a factory in King's Lynn and whose brands include Dolmio and Uncle Ben's, will divide its range into products that can be eaten every day or only occasionally, to reflect Government efforts to change the nation's appetite.

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 an increase in the use of whole grains.

As a result any 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.

The move comes after Chancellor George Osborne announced a sugar tax in his recent Budget to tackle childhood obesity.

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Fiona Dawson, the global president of Mars Food, Drinks and Multisales, said the company had developed 'very high' nutritional standards for its products, in light of recommendations by governments and the World Health Organisation.

'We also want to help our consumers understand the difference between 'everyday' and 'occasional' products within a balanced diet,' she said.

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Shoppers will begin to see the new guidance appearing on websites within the next few months.

Mars announced its global 'health and wellbeing ambition' as an initiative that will see some of its products reformulated over the next five years to cut their fat, salt and sugar content.

However it added: '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.'

Mars plans a reduction in the salt content of its products by an average of 20% by 2021.

There will also be a cut in the added sugar in a 'limited' number of sauces and light meals by 2018.

The company plans to increase the number of multi-grain options in its range 'significantly' so 50% of rice products will include whole grains or legumes.

Its tomato-based sauces will also contain a minimum of one serving of vegetables.

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