Hackettstown, N.J., August 9, 2007 — As students head back to class after the holidays, new more stringent nutrition guidelines for foods sold in schools will "raise the bar" on nutritious food choices for students — and provide new challenges to educators and administrators who want to insure that new food offerings will make the grade with students. To assist them in their efforts, Mars US has developed GENERATION MAX?, nutritious snackfood options that appeal to students´ taste preferences and meet the new nutrition guidelines.
GENERATION MAX? snackfoods, all 150 calories per serving or less, have the great taste of the well-known Mars snackfood brands and contain less than 35% of calories from fat, 10% of calories from saturated fat, and 35% by weight of sugar per serving, and have additional nutrients to help students meet the recommended Daily Values for a balanced diet.
The better-for-you changes in student food choices will be most apparent in school lunchrooms. New GENERATION MAX? snacks will help to insure that after lunch and before students head to extracurricular activities and sports, there are nutritious options available in school vending machines as well.
All of the GENERATION MAX? products satisfy the new stricter guidelines for nutrient content and portion size for competitive foods sold to students in all schools. Mars US is one of the initial five food companies to commit to this important school initiative and the first to design a new line of products specifically to meet the new nutrition content and portion guidelines that have been adopted by school districts across the country.
Building on Student Appeal of Favorite Brands
Mars made the decision to sub-brand the new products with the popular Mars snack brands, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, 3 MUSKETEERS®, COMBOS® and M&M´S®, following research, including student focus groups, that showed that the familiar brands increased the likelihood that students would be more open to trying the new nutritious snacks.
The new snackfood line features a variety of the most popular snackfood choices including cookies, cereal clusters, brownie bars, crackers and pretzels that meet the new more stringent nutritional guidelines. The new line consists of ten products: SNICKERS® Cookies, SNICKERS® Cereal Clusters, M&M´S® Cookies, TWIX® Cereal Clusters, 3 MUSKETEERS® Chocolate Brownie Bars, 3 MUSKETEERS® S´Mores Brownie Bars, 3 MUSKETEERS® Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Bars, COMBOS® Pizza Crackers, COMBOS® Hot ´n Spicy Crackers and COMBOS® Ranch Pretzels. (See linked fact sheets for more information.)
The products have performed well in an in-market test with strong student awareness, trial and repeat purchase. "Do the students realize they are choosing healthier items? Perhaps, and our goal will be to educate them to continue to make healthier lifestyle choices in and outside of the school environment," stated Donald Hense, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friendship Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC, one of the test market for the products. "What we do know is that our students are purchasing the new nutritious snack items and that alone is a step in the right direction."
Building on the success of recent test markets, Mars is expanding the GENERATION MAX? product line to school vending outlets nationwide during the 2007-2008 school year.
"At Mars, we take pride in all of our products which can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle, but given the unique environment in schools, we are proud to support the initiative and become the first national snackfood business to develop a line of snackfoods specifically to meet the guidelines," said Debo Mukherjee, vice president of Mars Nutrition for Health & Well-Being. "Mars is proud to be a leader in this initiative and to do the right thing for our children."
"Mars has the sound science expertise to make nutritious products that deliver the great taste that consumers have come to expect from us," he continued. "Our U.S. health and nutrition division has been active in developing a number of new nutrition-oriented product lines over the last few years."
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About Mars US
A privately-held company, Mars, Incorporated produces some of the world´s leading confectionery, food, pet food and health & nutrition products, and operates in more than 65 countries. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars, Incorporated employs more than 40,000 associates worldwide with 100 manufacturing facilities globally. The company sells some of the world´s favorite products including those sold under the M&M´S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, UNCLE BEN´S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food For Dogs, WHISKAS® Brand Food For Cats. The company´s global sales exceed $21 billion annually.
In 2005, Mars officially created its Nutrition for Health & Well-Being business unit to establish an all-new portfolio of health-focused brands to serve emerging needs among consumers. As one of the world´s leading food manufacturers and a leader in snackfoods, Mars has spent decades and substantial resources on nutrition research, including sports nutrition, cardiovascular health, and overall health and wellness. Mars has worked with premier research facilities and organizations around the world. By basing product development on sound scientific principles, Mars´ new products demonstrate innovation and a commitment to providing consumers with an ever-expanding array of products from which to choose.