Dolmio advises ‘occasional’ consumption



Some popular meals under the Dolmio or Uncle Ben’s banner are so high in salt, sugar or fat that they should not be eaten more than once a week, according to the company that produces them.

Confectionary giant Mars, which owns the brands, launched a campaign to encourage people to eat responsible amounts of their unhealthy products, like Dolmio lasagne sauces or Uncle Ben’s pre-packaged sweet and sour meal.

Products will be clearly distinguished as ‘everyday’ or ‘occasional’ – to be enjoyed once a week – under the company’s new health and wellbeing campaign announced this month.

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It will also go a step further and reduce the salt, sugar or fat in some foods and improve the nutritional content in others.


Sodium would be decreased in some of the Mars Foods products. Photo: Getty

Whole grains would be increased in rice meals so half of all rice products included whole grains or legumes, while tomato-based products would have their vegetable content equaled to one daily serving.

‘Occasional’ foods, those to be enjoyed once a week, would apply to foods high in salt, fat or sugar and with recipes that couldn’t be changed to “maintain the authentic nature of the recipe”.

“Cooking and eating healthy meals at home is central to health and wellbeing, and we believe our brands should inspire our consumers to come together over a healthy meal,” Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales global president Fiona Dawson said.

“Mars Food will practice what we preach by starting with our own Associates and helping them make informed, healthier food choices and cook meals together at our sites.”

The five-year program will apply to Mars Foods’ main meal range, but exclude confectionary brands.

‘Occasional’ foods


With 8.1g of fat, 2.3g of sugar and 0.8g of salt Dolmio lasagne sauce would be an ‘occasional’ food. Photo: Getty

Products in the ‘occasional’ category included Dolmio Lasagne Meal Kits, lasagne sauces, Dolmio Pesto and Dolmio Oven Bake Kits – Macaroni and Cheese, Carbonara and Creamy Tomato, Daily Mail reported.

Dolmio creamy white lasagne sauce contains 2.7g of saturated fats in a 94g serving, 7.1g of fat and 3.2g of sugar, meanwhile in a 100g serve of classic basil pesto there was 5.2g of fat, 3.3g of sugar and 1.4g of salt.

Every 100g of the original cheesy lasagne is listed as containing 8.1g of fat, 2.3g of sugar and 0.8g of salt.

Health guidelines indicate a total of 16g of saturated fats, 70g of fat and 90g of sugar – over a whole day.

Queen Mary University professor of cardiovascular medicine Graham MacGregor said reformulation was key to improving nutritional content in packaged foods, but that many companies were “failing to do this”.

“Trying to change people’s behaviours is a great yet ambitious idea,” Mr MacGregor told The Independent.

“Our fast paced society means many people just don’t have the time to cook anymore and with most of the salt in our diet coming from the foods we buy, it’s difficult to fall below the maximum intake.”

The UK recently announced a sugar tax would be implemented from 2017 to curb consumption of soft drinks.


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