Mars Inc., the maker of M&Ms and Snickers, announced its support for a federal government proposal that would require food companies to disclose added sugar among their nutritional information.
The labeling requirement floated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — which met opposition from other large food companies — would apply to sugars or syrups added to enhance foods' sweetness, texture or shelf-life. The standard would not apply to naturally occurring sugars in dairy or fruit ingredients.
Mars also endorsed recommendations from the World Health Organization and others that consumers should cap their calorie intake from added sugar at 10 percent.
Mars research and development chief Dave Crean said that the company wants people to enjoy its products "as part of a well-balanced diet," although he conceded the move could be perceived as "counterproductive."
"It shouldn't be consumed too often, and having transparency of how much it should be consumed is actually quite helpful to consumers," Crean said.
Mars said that as part of its nutrition initiatives, it plans to increase the number of chocolate products containing less than 200 kilocalories. The company does not currently account for added sugar on its nutrition panels and said it would not take that step without the FDA requirement.