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McCLEAN, VA -- Mars Inc., the maker of M&M's and Snickers, said it will stop selling chocolate with more than 250 calories per portion by the end of next year. The move is part of an agreement signed with Michelle Obama's Partnership for a Healthier America.
The confectioner, which also produces Skittles and Starburst, among other top-selling vending machine items, may not have to make major changes to reach its goal. A standard Snickers bar currently has 280 calories, and Twix and M&M's each contain 250 calories.
In 2009, Mars replaced its king-size Snickers bar with the two-piece 2 To Go size with a twist-wrap package design that stays tight to keep candy fresh for later consumption. It has since extended its multipiece package formats with 4 To Go and "sharing" sizes to make it easier for consumers to share their candy or save a piece for later. Snickers 2 To Go contains two 220-calorie bars.
Other initiatives in Mars's broad-based commitment to health and nutrition in recent years include its 2007 pledge to no longer market chocolate products directly to children under 12, putting calorie counts on the front of packages, eliminating trans fat and reducing saturated fat.
The company has also introduced several products that have fewer than 200 calories, including 3 Musketeers Coconut, M&M's Dark Chocolate Mint and Dove Chocolate Singles.