Our Approach to Scientific Research | Mars Inc.
Our Stories


Here at Mars, there’s always a story to tell. From our pet hospitals to farmers in our supply chain, new tales are unfolding every day. Dig into our stories and discover why so many of us are proud to be part of the Mars family!




At Mars, we have more than 100 years of experience bringing fantastic products to people and their pets all over the world. Many of our best-loved products have started with scientific research, from finding the right flavor of Skittles® to creating the right food for your breed of pet. We start with scientific research to make sure our consumers can be confident our products are safe and of the highest quality.

When it comes to research, we take our responsibility seriously. Earlier this year, we launched our Scientific Research and Engagement Policy, which governs how we conduct and monitor all the research that we’re involved with. Our policy is based on well-established standards of scientific conduct, quality, credibility and integrity. We know we have a responsibility to contribute robust and credible science, and we’re proud of the rigorous research approach we take, both within Mars and throughout our global network of research partners.

We know there’s a healthy criticism of industry involvement in science, and some have called for companies to play a "hands-off" role. At Mars, we believe we have a positive impact by making research more relevant and rigorous. We strive to publish research in the wider public interest. We always encourage our research partners to publish studies we’ve collaborated on, whatever the outcomes. Since our goal is to contribute to science through our research—and both positive and nil findings in research advance understandings in science—it is critical this information also get published.

One example is our work to wipe out a foodborne carcinogen called aflatoxin.Together with a set of global partners, we launched a project aimed at eradicating aflatoxin using a computer game called Foldit. Foldit is a crowd-sourcing science puzzle game that allows anyone in the world to figure out how amino acids are folded together to create proteins, the workhorses of our bodies. Within a matter of months, we should know whether one of these computer-generated designs has the potential to degrade aflatoxin.

Elsewhere in the world, we’ve teamed up with Google, UNICEF and others to sequence the genomes of 101 staple African crops. Using the power of genetics, we want to improve these crops’ nutritional content and ability to withstand climate change. These 101 crops include the baobab tree, papaya and Bambara ground nut. All information from the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) will be freely available in the public domain to help those who really need it. For the 600 million smallholder farmers in rural Africa who depend on these crops, this project could mean a more secure future.

A good example of how our research has evolved is our work with cocoa flavanols. We’ve been studying these bioactives for more than twenty years now, and our work has led us to understand that these little-known compounds could play a really important role in tackling public health issues. As we age, our blood vessels stiffen and our research has shown that the regular intake of cocoa flavanols can help keep your blood vessels flexible and functioning at their best. Maintaining the health of these vessels is an important part of your overall cardiovascular health.

While chocolate may have led us to look at cocoa flavanols twenty years ago, we made the decision more than a decade ago to stop researching into chocolate. We do not want consumers to think that chocolate is a reliable source of these important bioactives. Chocolate is a treat, not a health food. Our work continues in investigating the potential applications of cocoa flavanols, but we work with other cocoa-based forms like cocoa extract rather than chocolate.

The ingredients we use were a natural place for our research to start, but our current research programs extend far beyond this. Today, we contribute toward global research efforts by academia and other organizations around the world in areas like food safety, sustainable agriculture, and better health for people and pets. When it comes to scientific research, we take our responsibility seriously and we’re proud of the work we’re doing with our partners to tackle these issues.