Mars Irish arm profits double to €10m

Operating profits for Mars’ Irish arm more than doubled to nearly €10 million in the last financial year as overheads were cut and new accounts were filed for the business show. Sales increased by 3% to €123.5 million.

The family group, which owns household brands ranging from Skittles and M&Ms to Dolmio and Whiskas to Mars bars, was able to reduce its administrative costs in Ireland from €15.2m in the financial year to €11.3m.

Profit after tax rose from EUR 3.5 million to EUR 8.1 million.

The financial statements note that the group is continuing to develop the four categories it operates – grocery, chocolate, pet supplies and gum.

The Irish entity paid an interim dividend of €137,000 for the year and a final dividend of €147,000 for the year.

The company noted that Mars Group did not experience any significant disruptions to supply chains throughout the Covid crisis and did not expect the pandemic to have any material adverse impact on its net sales and cash flow.

Over the summer, Mars was sued in the United States by a consumer who claimed that Skittles are inedible because they contain a known toxin that the company promised to phase out six years ago.

In a proposed class action lawsuit filed in California, Jenile Thames accused Mars of endangering unsuspecting Skittles eaters by using “elevated levels” of titanium dioxide, or TiO2, as a food additive.

Titanium dioxide is used in thousands of foods. It is also used to lighten products such as paint, sunscreen, cosmetics and plastic.

The lawsuit noted that titanium dioxide would be banned in the European Union from August after a local food safety agency ruled it unsafe for “genotoxicity,” or the ability to alter DNA.

In 2021, the European Food Safety Authority issued an opinion stating that titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe when used as a food additive.

In January of this year, an EU regulation was passed that revoked the approval of titanium dioxide as a food additive in foods. It went into effect in February, but has been given a six-month grace period to give food companies time to phase out the ingredient and reformulate their products.

Mars pledged in early 2016 to eliminate artificial colors from its food over the next five years. In October 2016, it was confirmed that titanium dioxide was among the dyes removed.

Last year, Mars said it had determined that artificial colors were not “ingredients of concern” for most of its global consumers.

A second proposed class action lawsuit was filed against Mars in Chicago last month regarding the use of titanium dioxide in Skittles.

Additional coverage from Reuters Mars Irish arm profits double to €10m

Fry Electronics Team

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