Mars pledges to use 100% high-oleic peanuts in M&Ms, Munch Bar, by end of 2017

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Mars
Photo: Mars
Confectionery giant Mars announced its pledge to use only high-oleic peanuts in its Peanut M&M’s and Munch Bar products by the end of 2017.

The pledge, which was announced last summer to the peanut industry, was kept mostly under wraps from the food manufacturing and consumer side.

“We alerted the peanut industry as a whole of our commitment and our goal, and we’re waiting until we become 100% high-oleic [before] we announce to the public and the consumer,” ​Anne-Marie DeLorenzo, strategic sourcing manager for nuts at Mars Chocolate North America, told FoodNavigator-USA.

Though Mars has used 90% high oleic peanuts for its products in the US, the switch to using only high oleic peanuts has been slow due to supply issues. “We’re working with the industry to make more peanuts that are grown to be high-oleic, but today we can’t source enough high-oleic peanuts for all our products,” ​she said.

Hence, Mars’ pledge only focused on two products, Peanut M&Ms and Munch Bar.

‘It’s more about product freshness and quality’

High-oleic peanuts are championed for their high monounsaturated fat content, but Mars says nutritional profile changes in the end product are negligible, and the switch wasn’t intended to create a health halo.

“Our peanut investment is more about product freshness and quality than anything else,” ​said Anthony Guerrieri, director of External Affairs at Mars. “We know our products are a treat,​ [and that] consumers should be eating responsibly, so that’s our number one priority.”

This move does increase the cost for Mars, but it will not affect the final retail price on the consumer side. The move will only affect the products sold in the US, as peanuts in M&Ms and other Mars products sold overseas, according to DeLorenzo, are already 100% high oleic.

“Part of the process of going to 100% high-oleic, we have a very strong outreach with growers, sellers, and industry associations to get to where we’re at,” ​DeLorenzo added. For this initiative, Mars worked closely with The Georgia Peanut Commission, the National Peanut Board, and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, to name a few.

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How safe was the breeding of the high oleic oil peanut seeds?

Posted by steve horton,

The world has recognised that Monounsaturated oil (omega -9) seeds are far more stable & have a high anti oxidation measurement. Hence the race to create seed that can produce 60%+ Omega-9 is well & truly on. It remains however bigger question to determine how stable the Omega-3 & Omega 6 content is when the seed is exposed to high temperature, high pressures, air, water & other sugars. Until this issue can be soundly explained or shown to work Mars are going too Mars!

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Composition question, and why bother w/ high oleic?

Posted by David Stone,

The fatty acids in normal peanuts are (USDA data)
11% 16:0 (palmitic)
48% 18:1 (oleic)
32% 18:2 (linoleic)
1-2% stearic and gadolinic

What is the composition of high-oleic peanut oil, and which other fatty acids are decreased to achieve the "high" designation?

Why bother making the switch?

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