Mars Food, makers of Dolmio and Uncle Ben's products, is launching a new health initiative that includes labels marking whether foods are "everyday" or "occasional" options. According to the company, the "occasional" products should be eaten no more than once a week.
The company says that its five-year "Health and Wellbeing Ambition" is "to create and promote healthier food choices and to encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals with others".
Some products are high in salt, added sugar or fat, and should not be eaten everyday, says the company. These products are kept with these levels of salt, added sugar and fat "to maintain the authentic nature of the recipe", according to Mars Food.
The list of "occasional" products will include a number of Dolmio products, including pesto, oven bake kits, lasagne sauces and lasagne meal kits. Products will now come with a better health guidance on-pack, as well as more information on their websites.
Other Mars Food products will have their sugar and sodium levels reduced while some will have vegetables and grains added. The company aims to reduce sodium across its products by an average of 20% by 2021.
"The food industry has already made great strides in reducing sodium, but we have more work to do to help consumers reduce sodium intake," said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Drinks and Multisales.
Of the new occasional labels, Dawson said: "Our nutrition criteria sets a very high standard for our products, and we also want to help our consumers understand the difference between 'everyday' and 'occasional' products within a balanced diet."
Mars Food's new "Ambition" comes in the wake of mounting pressure on companies to deal with high levels of sugar in products. Last month, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new "sugar tax" on soft drinks with high sugar content.