M&M's maker to stop marketing to kids

Closely held Masterfoods says it will end marketing of its core products to those under age 12 by year-end.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Confectionery giant Masterfoods, which makes Milky Way and Snickers candy bars as well as M&M's chocolates, says it will stop marketing its core products to children under the age of 12 by the end of this year. (See correction.)

The new policy will cover all advertising, including online and new media.

The European Union authority DG Sanco, much like the United States' FDA, sent an inquiry to Masterfoods several months ago about the company's marketing and advertising of its products targeting children, according to Masterfoods spokeswoman Marlene Machut.

In response, Masterfoods sent a letter to DG Sanco on Friday related to its core products - candy and snack foods - saying, "We will not be advertising these products to children under 12 years of age," Machut said.

This includes "all of our core confectionery products and snack food products," which include Snickers, M&M's, Twix, Skittles, Starburst, and Milky Way, she said.

She added, however, that this will not change how some of the company's products are advertised - for example there "won't be much of a change" to M&M's advertising because it does not currently target the age range at issue.

"M&M's have never been targeted below 12 years of age so there is no change with that marketing," she said. "The base brand has never been targeted to that age range."

One product's marketing that will be affected is that of Mini M&M's, which have targeted younger customers, including those under age 12.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Masterfoods makes Mars Bars. Masterfoods is owned by Mars Incorporated and does not in fact make Mars candy bars. Return to story.

-- from CNN Assignment Editor Katy Byron

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