Mars Inc is to cut the levels of saturated fat in a number of its chocolate bars in the UK by "at least" 15%.

The confectionery giant said today (18 January) that Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Topic and Flyte bars will all benefit from a programme that had cost EUR10m (US$14.4m).

Mars added the change will take place "without any change in the taste or quality" of the products.

Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars Chocolate UK, said: "Our goal is to make our products better for you without compromising on taste. We are proud to have achieved this as a result of many years of research and investment."

Mars said the "breakthrough" comes after five years of development and more than 40,000 hours of research and development.

Professor Judy Buttriss, director general of the British Nutrition Foundation, said: "Saturated fat is a health issue that needs addressing by consumers and food manufacturers alike. In order to reduce total intakes across the population to below 10% of total energy intake, the formulation of all sources of saturated fat - even popular treats - needs to be tackled. Any initiative to reduce the amount of saturated fat in the UK diet is a step in the right direction."

All five of the products will contain less saturated fat per bar compared with their current recipes from the summer, Mars said.