American confectionery and food product manufacturer Mars, known for its Mars bar and M&M brands, has pledged to use only high-oleic peanuts in its Peanut M&M’s and Munch Bars by the end of 2017.
The pledge was mostly kept hidden from the consumer and food manufacturing sectors, despite it being made already in the summer of 2016, reported FoodNavigator-USA on 1 May.
“We alerted the peanut industry as a whole of our commitment and our goal, and we’re waiting until we become 100% high-oleic before we announce to the public and the consumer,” Anne-Marie DeLorenzo, strategic sourcing manager for nuts at Mars Chocolate North America, told the news site.
DeLorenzo said the switch to only high-oleic peanuts had been slow due to the company being unable to source sufficient supply, which is why it focused the pledge on only two products.
Mars had, however, used 90% high-oleic peanuts in its products in the USA.
High-oleic peanuts have a high monounsaturated fat content, but FoodNavigator quoted Mars saying that the changes to nutritional profiles would be negligible and the switch wasn’t intended to create a “health halo”.
“Our peanut investment is more about product freshness and quality than anything else. We know our products are a treat and that consumers should be eating responsibly, so that’s our number one priority,” said Anthony Guerreri, director of external affairs at Mars.
FoodNavigator reported that the move would increase the cost of acquiring peanuts for Mars, but would not affect consumer prices.
Additionally, only products sold in the USA would be affected, as Mars products sold elsewhere in the world were already 100% high-oleic, DeLorenzo told FoodNavigator.