Mars Inc., one of the largest food companies in the world and maker of M&Ms, is considering pulling its candies from fast-food chain desserts, such as McDonald’s McFlurry, Burger King’s
Snickers pie and Dairy Queen’s Blizzard. The company’s concern is that such items often contain more sugar per serving than the daily amount currently recommended by the FDA.
Mars has long been public about its stance on enjoying sweets and other high-calorie products responsibly. In 2013, the company stopped selling king-sized versions of its candy bars and limited packages to no more than 250 calories per serving. Earlier this year, the food giant publicly encouraged consumers not to eat some of its popular food items high in salt, fat and sugar more than once a week.
“We are now working alongside our suppliers and customers to bring this commitment to life,” said a Mars spokesperson about the company’s new initiative to part ways with fast-food desserts.
The world’s largest confectioner’s strategy to warn people about the dangers of sugar consumption and actively restrict access to some of its most popular items may seem counterintuitive. This, however, is one of the smartest PR strategies we have witnessed in recent years. Its brilliance lies in the company’s ability to recognize larger trends in the food industry, as well as consumers’ changing attitudes toward what constitutes a healthy diet.
By re-examining and adjusting its strategy to the current trends, Mars positions itself in a way where it can better address potential criticisms and scrutiny from government regulators and the public.
By promoting a balanced diet and proactively acknowledging the health risks of excessive sugar consumption, the company stays ahead of the curve on the issues that more and more people begin to care about.
In an industry that traditionally promotes self-indulgence, Mars’ messages of self-restraint and responsible consumption positively differentiate the company from the competition, creating the foundation for a PR strategy focused on long-term success rather than short-term profits.