CHICAGO -- In contrast to recent industry efforts to change the Standards of Identity for chocolate, Mars Snackfood US has announced its support for the current definition of chocolate and pledged to continue to make pure, authentic chocolate with 100% cocoa butter for all of its U.S. chocolate products.
Changing the Standard of Identity for chocolate could allow manufacturers to make chocolate with cocoa butter substitutes.
"Changing the definition of what chocolate is would be a mistake. The bottom line is that we're not going [image-nocss] to change our chocolate. Today, Mars US chocolate products are pure, authentic chocolate and they're going to stay that way," said Todd R. Lachman, president of Mars Snackfoods US. "Even though we could save millions of dollars, we simply won't compromise the purity and authenticity of our chocolate by diluting it with a cocoa butter substitute. This company was built on qualityit's one of our core principlesand we will not lower the bar on chocolate quality.
The current industry petition to revise the Standards of Identity would fundamentally redefine chocolate. The proposal could allow manufacturers to call a product chocolate even if it used vegetable oil as a substitute for cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is one of the key defining ingredients in chocolate, providing the signature melt-in-your-mouth creaminess and texture, the company said.
"At Mars, the consumer is our boss, and American consumers are passionate about chocolate. They don't want anyone to change the chocolate they've enjoyed for generations," said Lachman. "As a privately held company, we have the freedom to invest in the highest quality chocolate and deliver what consumers want."
Mars has nearly 100 years of expertise making high-quality chocolate, it said, and it is one of a handful of companies still making its own chocolate. The company is one of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers, with chocolate brands including M&M's Chocolate Candies, Dove Chocolate, Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and Twix.
Mars is also a global leader in cocoa research, it said. Its research has led to innovations in the areas of sustainable cocoa farming technology; taste and texture of chocolate products; and the health benefits of cocoa-based compounds such as flavanols, it added.
Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars US is the U.S. food, snack and pet care operations of Mars Inc., one of the world's leading food manufacturers, with more than $7 billion in annual U.S. sales Other brands include Uncle Ben's, Pedigree and Whiskas.