The M&Ms Family - © Mars Corp

Mars Attacks! – In War On Sugar

Mars, the company that makes such iconic sweets as M&Ms, Snickers and Twix, has announced it will enter talks with other food processors and Fast Food purveyors to help reduce the sugar content of some all-star menu items. Everyone wonders what’s behind the apparently altruistic move…

McFlurry vs Blizzard - myhalfassedkitchen.blogspot.caWould they be the same without the Mars contributions?

On its face, Mars’ move to talk sugar reduction with the likes of Blizzard-blaster Dairy Queen, McFlurry-maker McDonalds and Snickers Pie-purveyor BK appears to be anything but self-serving (soft ice cream pun not intended). Mars would lose a significant (we imagine) revenue flow by removing its Candies and Candy Bars from Fast Food creations. There’s the marketing angle, too, in as much as the Fast Food guys wanted to cash in on a partnership with Mars for publicity purposes in the first place.

Mars’ thinking…

‘Sources close to Mars’ (‘far out ideas’ pun not intended) say the company is concerned about it’s image. Mars has come out staunchly in support of consuming Sugar in moderation and are worried they’ll seem duplicitous if they continue to allow their products in he Fast Food creations.

It’s a real issue, if you’re an anti-sugar activist. The insider (who leaked the news to Reuters) observes that The Blizzard, the McFlurry and the Snickers Pie each contain more sugar than the daily recommended allowance. Lots more. And all in just one menu item! Yikes!

Mars is different than most other big companies

So, removing Mars’ contribution (the Candy) could help reduce the sugar load considerably. A noble motive. But weigh that against the revenue loss. The Mars family may not care. Mars sells more than (US)$25 Billion worth of products from Candy Bars to Pasta Sauce to Pet Food every year, worldwide. The three Mars siblings (who own the company) are reported by Forbes to have a net worth of (US)$80 billion. In short, Mars the world’s largest confectioner (candy-maker)

Mars is also noted for its secretiveness. The company gets to indulge its penchant for privacy because it’s a family operation, not publicly traded on the stock market. It doesn’t have to tell anybody anything about its business. Come to think of it, that family orientation may be one reason Mars had a conscience attack over Sugar in the first place.

In the end…

Mars may have to endure a small loss taking its candy products out of Fast Food desserts. But it gets a lot of good will and positive media coverage for publicly pursuing its new Sugar-in-moderation stance. In contrast, the Fast Food guys stand to lose a lot more, not only in ‘downgrading’ their featured dessert items but in losing face over the Sugar issue. Fast Food needs Mars more than Mars needs Fast Food.

We’ll be watching the media for any indication that the Fast Food guys have given in to Mars demands for ‘reformulation’…

~ Maggie J.