updated 8/21/2008 7:35:44 PM ET 2008-08-21T23:35:44

The maker of Snickers bars and M&Ms candies said it is raising wholesale prices on various items to offset the higher costs of raw materials, packaging and energy, the second major candy company in the past week to announce such a move.

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The statement issued this week by Mars follows a similar announcement by its larger rival, The Hershey Co., which cited the spiraling costs of everything from cocoa and peanuts to fuel and utilities.

The privately held Mars did not say which products will go up in price, or by how much. But it said the majority of the price increases will take effect Oct. 17, while several other changes will be introduced through next March.

A spokeswoman for Nestle USA Inc. did not return calls requesting information on its prices.

Last week, Hershey said it raised prices on its products by an average of 11 percent, a move that it said it expected would hurt sales volumes.

Mars also announced a price increase in January, as did Hershey.

Prices increases have been a sensitive topic in the industry. Investigations into price-fixing allegations in the chocolate industry have been launched by U.S., Canadian and European authorities, prompting numerous civil lawsuits.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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