How do you make a Mars Bar healthier? Make it smaller.

21 August 2012

it's mars, innit?

The Mars Bar is an iconic chocolate representation of our confectionery history. The triple whammy of chocolate, caramel and soft nougat combining to form a unique taste sensation. Or perhaps not. In a quest to make their chocolate bars healthier, Mars are doing funny things to their chocolate bars, including removing the nougat from a Mars Bar, and making the other bars smaller.

The new Mars Caramel, already successfully launched in the US, Canada and Australia is just like a Mars Bar, but without the nougat. So not really anything like a Mars Bar at all. Crucially, however, the calorie count per bar will decrease from 260 to 204 calories per bar. Of course, the new bar also weighs 13g less, which means that there are more calories per gram of bar in the new ‘lighter’ version, but who’s counting.

All this is part of a ‘responsibility deal pledge’ whereby the company agreed to reduce all its bars’ calorific value to under 250 by the end of 2013. Despite replacing nasty palm oil with healthier sunflower oil at the behest of the Food Standards Agency in 2010, it seems the only way Mars is going to meet its targets is to make the bars smaller. MD of Mars UK Fiona Dawson told The Grocer that reformulation “might not be enough” and that some bars would have to shrink, although she called it “experimenting with a number of different sizes with customer groups.”

And this isn’t the first time Mars products have shrunk. The UK company shrank both the Mars and Snickers bars by 7.5 per cent in 2009, bringing them down from 62.5g to 58g without a corresponding cut in price.

A Mars spokesman said the shrinkages were necessary, forming “part of our on-going efforts to encourage responsible consumption.” But do we really want our confectioners to worry about 'responsible consumtion'? Are we even bothered about the calories in our chocolate bars? Surely we don’t eat chocolate as part of a health kick or diet, so why would we care if our Bounty or Snicker was 260 or 250 calories?

While reducing the size of chocolate bars in order to make more profit is not unheard of either- just ask Kraft (owner of Cadburys)- but at least they were upfront about it, rather than pretending they are concerned about the size of our waistlines, rather than the size of their balance sheet.

18 comments

  • Darren
    actually shrinking the bar makes more sense than raising the price, as people hate when prices go up, more than they notice a small bit of shrinkage
  • Adam
    Disagree Darren. By shrinking a product from its established size is dishonest. If the price goes up,consumers would be aware of the agenda and could make an informed choice about their purchase. Imaging a pub changing its glasses to 90% of a pint. Yes, their price list might reflect this, but it's customary for the quantity to be a pint. Manufacturers should be required to devote, say, 25% of the packaging space to a declaration of reduced product weight.
  • Bearded C.
    In a completely unrelated point, they are also not vegetarian. Was news to me! Fuckers.
  • Eh?
    We don't want to hear about Darren's problems with shrinkage.
  • Dick
    They become even more unhealthy if they make them too small. If they shrink a bar that was once 65g down to 45g, then you end up eating two.
  • Chewbacca
    @Clamface Who gives a toss about vegetarians?
  • Bearded C.
    Fuck only eating two. I don't stop eating when i'm full, I stop when I hate myself.
  • Bearded C.
    @Baccy - Who wants to eat bits of corpse with their chocolate? :/
  • Magoo
    The company even expects you to eat two of them - why do you think they sell their 'share' packs of two mars bars?
  • Zeddy
    Fuck this shit. They're bringing this baby to the UK: [url=http://www.fdin.org.uk/2012/08/mars-launches-new-mars-caramel/url] It is fucking tasty as a Milky Way Caramel in the US. None of your nougat shit.
  • Veg e.
    What is not veg friendly? http://www.marsnutrition.co.uk/NutritionDetailsNew.aspx?pc=21685
  • Alexis
    They were threatening to put calf stomachs in them in 2007 but dropped the plans.
  • Spencer
    Whatever happened to consumer culture? we want it, we're paying for it. let us deal with the consequences of the extra 40 calories....
  • Fred
    Food for fat yanks :)
  • Shea n.
    Mmmmmm calf stomachs, yum ,yum
  • Mr C.
    I prefer star bars anyway.....
  • Mr S.
    I prefer cod bars...
  • Euan
    I love the way these days it's always "Limited Edition" rather than "Trial Product". Which means if it sells like hot cakes, they can put it into unlimited production "thanks to customer demand", and if it's as popular as a turd sandwich then "well it was only ever a limited edition and that's it gone now".

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