New Year’s resolutions at Mars, Inc. are no laughing matter. The maker of Snickers and Twix candy bars is powering ahead on plans to nix sales of chocolate products that contain more than 250 calories by the end of 2013.
The 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar will be gone from the supermarket candy aisle; bags of two or four smaller bars will take its place. Regular Snickers will be 11% smaller, but Twix bars and packs of M&Ms, which meet the 250-calorie limit, will stay the same.
The company’s calorie cutback rounds out an agreement with Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America. Mars joins a group of 16 manufacturers that have committed to slashing 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015 through lower-calorie offerings and smaller portions. The group includes competitors Kraft Foods (which owns Cadbury chocolates), NestlÃ© USA (which makes Baby Ruth, Chunky, and more), and The Hershey Company.
Hershey has already downsized. In early February it launched new varieties of Almond Joy and Hershey’s Special Dark bars, as well as York Peppermint Patty. Similar to Reese’s Pieces, the candies are recreated in packs of pop-in-the-mouth portions.
Almost all candy makers offer bags of individually wrapped fun-size chocolates. What’s new is the candy makers’ battle to woo consumers into buying more of less of their product sold on its own. Mars and Hershey’s, and others who follow, are likely to boost their fan base among consumers who are watching their weight or needing to curb their kids’ sugar fix.