Mars Inc. to Remove Artificial Colors

Change across food portfolio follows evolving consumer preferences

Mars Incorporated

McLEAN, Va. -- Mars Inc. said that it will remove all artificial colors from its food products for humans as part of a commitment to meet evolving consumer preferences.

Though many of the company’s products are already free of artificial colors, the company is expanding the scope of the effort to its entire food portfolio (not including pet foods) incrementally. The change will affect products across the range of the company’s chocolate, gum, confection, food and drink businesses.

Artificial colors pose no known risks to human health or safety, but consumers today are calling on food manufacturers to use more natural ingredients in their products. Against this backdrop, Mars will work closely with its suppliers to find alternatives that not only meet quality and safety standards, but also maintain the colors consumers have come to expect from the company’s brands.

“We’re in the business of satisfying and delighting the people who love our products,” said Grant F. Reid, president and CEO of Mars. “Eliminating all artificial colors from our human food portfolio is a massive undertaking, and one that will take time and hard work to accomplish. Our consumers are the boss, and we hear them. If it’s the right thing to do for them, it’s the right thing to do for Mars.”

Today, Mars uses a variety of naturally sourced and artificial colors in its global product portfolio. Depending on consumer preferences, ingredient availability and local regulations, slightly different formulations and products may exist in different markets; however, all ingredients used by the company are safe, and all are manufactured in compliance with Mars’ internal quality and safety requirements and the requirements established by food safety regulators globally, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Removing all artificial colors from a food portfolio that features more than 50 brands represents a complex challenge, the company said. Mars’ strategy includes partnering with suppliers to identify new ingredients and formulas that meet safety and quality standards, addressing all legal and regulatory requirements, and creating accessible ways to gather input and feedback from consumers throughout the reformulation process. The company believes the process of developing alternative colors, ensuring their safety and quality, obtaining regulatory approval and introducing the new ingredients across the entirety of its food portfolio around the world will take about five years.

Recently, Hershey, Nestlé USA, Kellogg and SnackWell's have made similar moves to transition away from artificial ingredients and toward simple ingredients.

Mars Chocolate North America, a unit of Mars Inc., is based in Hackettstown, N.J. Mars Inc., McLean, Va., has net sales of more than $33 billion and six business segments: Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience and Petcare.

Brands include Chocolate (M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way and Twix); Wrigley (Doublemint, Extra, Orbit and 5 chewing gums; Skittles and Starburst candies; and Altoids and Lifesavers mints); Food (Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods, Seeds of Change and Royco); Drinks (Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia); and Symbioscience (Cocoavia and Wisdom Panel); and Petcare (Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Kitekat, Banfield Pet Hospital, Cesar, Sheba, Dreamies and Nutro).