Last week Mars issued a warning that some of its Dolmio pasta sauce and Uncle Ben’s rice products should only be consumed once a week due to the high levels of salt, sugar and fat they contain.
The food manufacturer is in the process of updating its packaging and website over the coming months to distinguish between ‘everyday’ and ‘occasional’ items as part of its drive to promote healthier living.
Surely this is brand suicide and can only result in a drop in sales? Or is it a brave move, allowing Mars to be seen as leading the way, while other food manufacturers will now have to follow?
While consumers realise that products such as chocolate and biscuits should be limited, there is general confusion when it comes to food that is seen as a staple – pasta and rice.
In terms of communication, I believe that this is a stroke of genius. Mars has put consumer health ahead of its own sales. It now ‘owns’ the health message, its transparent attitude reinforces its conscientious approach. We now see Mars as a values driven company.
Perhaps aware of a potential salt tax following the sugar tax, Mars has seized a potential negative situation and behaved as consumers want organisations to behave – with integrity.