Mars UK is to introduce vegetarian-friendly labeling in the wake of controversy earlier this year over the company's plan to use animal rennet as an ingredient.

The words "Suitable for Vegetarians" will appear on products including Mars, Snickers and Maltesers from next year.

The launch follows the consumer outcry in May when Mars decided to move away from using vegetarian-friendly whey in its chocolate to whey containing animal rennet. Mars quickly dropped the plans after thousands of complaints from consumers.

"We are introducing this initiative because we want to communicate the suitability of our products to vegetarians," said Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars' UK snackfood business.

Mars UK had held talks with the UK's Vegetarian Society over gaining accreditation from the body but said its new labels are based on guidance from the Food Standards Agency.

"The FSA is a respected independent authority who we look to for all of our guidance on food labelling and food safety," a Mars spokesperson told just-food. "We understand the Vegetarian Society worked with the FSA in developing the guidance."