Snickers to Slim Down

Mars will stop shipping chocolate products with more than 250 calories by end of 2014

MCLEAN, Va. -- Mars Inc, the maker of Snickers and Twix candy bars, will stop selling chocolate products with more than 250 calories by the end of next year, a spokesperson told Reuters. The company, which also makes M&Ms and Skittles candies and Juicy Fruit chewing gum, said the goal is part of an ongoing effort to improve the nutritional value of its products and to sell them in a responsible way.

The new calorie limit target means the 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar is going to be gone by 2014 as part of what Mars said is a broader push for responsible snacking.

In 2007, the privately held company said it would stop buying advertising time or space if more than a quarter of the audience was likely to be under 12 years old.

Mars has also said it will reduce sodium levels in all its products 25% by 2015.

Spokesperson Marlene Machut said the plan to stop shipping any chocolate product that exceeded 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013--a target first announced last fall--was part of Mars' "broad-based commitment to health and nutrition."

Several media organizations, including National Public Radio, had reported on the chocolate bar

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the two-ounce Snickers bar currently sold in its vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsizing, it will lose about 11% of its size. The fun-size and the king-size bars currently range from 70 to 540 calories.

The company told the news outlet that the king-size bar will be replaced with bags of two or four smaller bars. The idea is to "enable sharing or saving a portion for later," according to a Mars spokesperson.

Not all its candies will be forced to downsize, said the report. Other favorites such as the Twix bar and M&M's already fall within the 250-calorie limit.

Mars Chocolate North America is the North American chocolate operations of Mars Inc. Based in McLean, Va., Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience.

Mars brands include Chocolate: M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way and Twix; Petcare: Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba, Cesar and Royal Canin; Wrigley: Orbit, Extra, Starburst, Doublemint and Skittles; Food: Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods and Seeds of Change; Drinks: Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia; and Symbioscience: Seramis, Cirku and Cocoavia.