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Lucy Cotterell brand director, Mars UK, is among those steering the firm's new-found consumer engagement. Interview by Gemma Charles.
The notoriously secretive Mars, Inc has fastidiously kept its executives out of the limelight until very recently, preferring to let its global food brands do the talking. But the family-owned firm, founded in 1911 in Tacoma, Washington, by Frank Mars and his wife Ethel, who began making candy bars in their kitchen, is changing with the times.
In an unusual step for Mars, its UK managing director Fiona Dawson emerged into the full glare of the media spotlight last year after the company's U-turn over the introduction of whey made with animal rennet in its products, which include the Mars Bar, Twix and Snickers. The revelation of the switch prompted an outcry from vegetarians. After intensive lobbying by consumers and The Vegetarian Society, as well as copious negative media coverage, Mars issued full-page national newspaper ads in the form of a letter, in which Dawson apologised and explained that it was reverting to …