The first MARS® bar was sold in France in 1951. In 1962, we began importing CHAPPIE® dog food and KITEKAT® cat food for sale in France. We purchased the pioneering Strasbourg-based pet food company, SABI, renaming it UNISABI and taking over its brands CANIGOU® and RONRON® in 1967. In the same year, Wrigley opened a gum factory in Biesheim, Alsace.
We continued to expand throughout the 1970s and 80s, opening our pet food factory in Saint-Denis-de-L'Hôtel, Loiret, in 1973; and our chocolate factory in Haguenau, Alsace, in 1974. The Ernolsheim-sur-Bruche pet food factory, which makes CESAR® and SHEBA®, opened in 1981, the same year Mars Drinks launched in France (originally as Four Square Drinks). In 1989, we opened our Steinbourg plant to make ice creams.
In 2000, we invested in a product innovation co-developed by French farmers and the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). Now known as EBLY® Tender Wheat, it’ produced by a farming cooperative in Châteaudun and is marketed by Mars. In 2002, we acquired the French pet food company Royal Canin® to step change our position in the growing and premium specialized Petcare channel and the fish care company, Rena.
Principles in Action
Health & Nutrition:
We understand the importance of good health and nutrition. In February 2012, Mars Chocolate France became the first company in the chocolate market to sign a voluntary charter of nutritional progress with the French Health Ministry, as part of the National Nutritional Health Program (PNNS). The commitments are to:
Decrease the saturated fat content of all nougat bars sold in France (MARS®, SNICKERS®, MILKY WAY®) by 15 percent from 2010 levels
Reduce the saturated fat content of our Balisto® biscuit bar sold in France by 30 percent by the end 2014 from 2010 levels.
Reduce the total fat and saturated fat content of all ice cream bars by lowering the dairy fat content from nine to five percent from 2010 levels.
Mars Food is committed to improving the nutritional quality of our UNCLE BEN'S® Ready-to-Heat rice and sauces. In May 2011, Mars Food France also signed the voluntary charter of nutritional progress, committing to reduce the sodium content of UNCLE BEN'S® Express Rice by 24 percent and UNCLE BEN'S® sauces by 18 percent by the end of 2011. We are also committed to promoting balanced diets and physical activity for our Associates by raising awareness of the Ministry's National Nutrition and Health Program.
Wrigley France has been committed to improving oral health for many years and particular through its partnership with the French National Dentist Associates (UFSBD). Our Wrigley France associates are Oral Care Ambassadors. In 2015 during the World Oral Health Day Wrigley (20th March), in the heart of Paris Wrigley set up a temporary dental practice with the UFSBD to offer oral care check up to the population.
All Mars Petcare main meal products are designed to deliver optimal nutrition that fulfills pets dietary needs so that they can be happy and healthy. Around 30% of pet cats and dogs are obese and overweight. The science of WALTHAM supports the idea that many pets are getting fed too many calories for a modern lifestyle.
As a responsible petfood manufacturer and the global leader in pet nutrition, Mars Petcare is working to proactively address pet obesity by fundamentally changing the way we feed pets. In 2012, Mars Petcare has been decided that all our brands for cats and dogs (PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, and SHEBA®) should follow the reduced recommended caloric intake of dogs and cats based on daily energy requirements. Products have been redesigned to deliver nutritional requirements with fewer calories. We are making it easier for pet owners to properly feed their pets based on daily energy requirements to help prevent pet obesity.
Our Supply Chain
Aligned with Mars’ approach globally, we aim to source more sustainably produced raw materials, boosting farmers’ incomes and creating mutual benefits for supplier communities. Whenever relevant, Mars France is committed to using independent certification to demonstrate that its products are responsibly sourced, such as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
In March 2011, our Petcare segment launched its first SHEBA® pet food varieties containing responsibly sourced fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
In September 2011, BALISTO® became the first Mars chocolate bar in France to commit to buying UTZ Certified sustainable cocoa.
We also look beyond our ingredients and ask suppliers of printed materials to use Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper. This certification guarantees that the paper is sourced from a sustainably managed forest.
In 2014, EBLY® received “Origine France Garantie” certification. The certification is a well-known symbol of quality that recognizes brands that are locally sourced and produced in France. Mars Food partners with more than 1,000 local farmers to deliver a 100% natural EBLY® wheat, non-GMO, free from preservatives, additives and colorings, supplied from less than 50km around the factory. So, the EBLY® wheat coming from the “Région Centre” fields and processed in Chateaudun factory in the center of France, makes the products 100% “Made in France.”
Our 8 French factories and all our offices are committed to make our operations “sustainable in a generation” (SIG). We have several work projects that make the difference to:
Reduce water use
As an example, in our petfood factory of Ernolsheim-sur-Bruche, we have implemented the “Retort Water Recycling” project in July 2011. The water consumption in the factory for retort cooling has been cut by more than 90 percent (representing a third of the overall factory water consumption), and the gas usage used for water sterilization has been reduced to zero. In absolute values, this corresponds to 75.000m3 of water usage and waste water disposal reduction and more than 400.000 Nm3 of gas (or close to 900kg CO2) per year.
Reduce direct fossil-fuel energy and greenhouse gas emissions
The project Green Steam has been developed in Haguenau in cooperation with an incineration factory close to our site. A 1.5km piping has been installed and since December 2013 we are using the steam generated in this external facility to heat part of our Mars factory. Total yearly CO2 reduction is estimated 8000T. This project has been rewarded Make the Difference Global Winner in 2013.
Green Steam had the honor to win the prestigious 2015 Grand Prix Energy Management Award attributed by the ESSEC Business School which awarded the best sustainable initiatives among the industrial, consumer and food sectors.
In 2012, we managed to get a door to door service by rail through a dedicated train solution. From each of the factories in Verden, Minden, Bad Salzdetfurth and Nordhorn, a single wagon service is running to Saarbrücken near the French border, where then the wagons are consolidated to a complete train. The wagons containing Frolic, Pedigree and Catsan are than delivered over the weekend to the French market warehouse in Boigny. The Blocktrain carries a weekly volume equivalent of up to 55 trucks into the French warehouse in Boigny. We decreased the carbon footprint on the route to France by 16% (~615 tons CO2).
Achieve zero waste to landfill
All our French factories are already up to this target in France.
Our comprehensive global Marketing Code sets strict guidelines for the way we advertise food, chocolate, confections and gum products in France. We are ‘doing-good marketing’ and, as an example, we are committed not to communicate to children under 12.
Pedigree has been supporting for years the « adoption cause », with the “Fondation 30 millions d’amis”. In September 2014, we launched the PEDIGREE® Feeding Project, a new initiative to supply 154 shelters with free dog food to help restore the health and vitality of pets for adoption.
Since April 2015, all Royal Canin units in France are collecting plastic bottles’tops to support Handi-chien and its cause “Bouchons d’amour”. Once collected, bottles’top are sold to be recycled. Thanks to this fund, Handi Chien can support financing educated dogs for blind people.
In June 2014, we launched in France Ben’s Beginners™, sponsored by UNCLE BEN’S®, to encourage families cooking and eating together. The campaign also demonstrates how making rice the main ingredient of your meals can lead to a healthy and varied diet.
Working at Mars
In 2015, Mars France is the second best workplaces (Great Place to Work institute):
95% of our French Associates said they were proud to tell others they work here.
88% of them believe that their work has a special meaning for them, and this is not “just a job”
In 2015 for the first time ever all the Mars entities in France participated to Great Place to Work: Mars Petcare, Mars Food, Wrigley, Mars Chocolate, Royal Canin and Mars Global Services.
Mars France was also recognized as an attractive and responsible employer for graduates, young specialists, and students (Stage Advisor), thanks to our Principles in Action activities.
At Mars, we aim to create a culture of energy, fulfillment and happiness so every Associate is engaged and can make their job at Mars mean more. In 2014, all segments in France organized a Mars Volunteer Program (MVP) that gives our Associates an opportunity to put our Five Principles into action for up to two paid working days a year, volunteering in the communities in which they live, work and do business. In total in 2014, our French Associates have spent more than 5 000 hours volunteering.