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Mars Bar

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Mars Bar

Introduced 1932

Mars (also Mars bar) is a chocolate bar manufactured by Mars, Incorporated. It was first manufactured in Slough, Berkshire in the United Kingdom in 1932 and was advertised to the trade as being made with Cadbury's chocolate as "couverture".

In the United States, a different confection bears the Mars bar name. Featuring nougat, soft caramel, and a milk chocolate coating, the American Mars bar was relaunched in 2010 after being discontinued in 2002.

Worldwide version

In 1932, Forrest Mars, son of American candy maker Frank C. Mars, rented a factory in Slough and with a staff of twelve people, began manufacturing a chocolate bar consisting of nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate, modelled after his father's Milky Way bar, which was already popular in the US.[1] Today the basic recipe is unaltered but the size of the bar and the proportions of the main components have changed over the years. With minor variations, this version is sold worldwide, except for the US, and is packaged in a black wrapper with red lettering.

In 2002, the Mars bar was reformulated and its logo was updated with a more cursive appearance. Its price also increased.[2] The nougat was made lighter, the chocolate on top became thinner, and the overall weight of the bar was reduced slightly. In Britain, this was met with outrage from Mars purists, as in a sales pitch to local media in Slough, the change in ingredients was to follow the trend of its sister the Milky Way bar and 5 Star bars. Product designers at The Mars Candy Company in the US put this down to nostalgia over the past hugely popular Starbar, which also contained the same reinvented "light whipped nougatine".

In Australia the Mars bar logo never changed, and is still the same logo as before 2002.

The slogan "Pleasure you can't measure" was intended to appeal more to women and youths.[3]

Various sizes are made: miniature bars called "Fun Size" (19.7 g) and "Snack Time" (36.5 g) (both sold in multiple packs); a larger multi-pack size of 54 g; the regular sized single 58 g bar and a "king-size" 84 g bar which has since been replaced by "Mars Duo" (85 g) – a pack that contains 2 smaller bars of 42.5 g each instead of 1 large one. The regular 58 g single bar contains 260 calories. As of 2013, the 'standard' Mars bar has shrunk once again to 53g in weight.[4]

In the second half of 2008, Mars UK reduced the size of regular bars from 62.5 g to the current 58 g. Although the reduction in size was not publicised at the time, Mars claimed the change was designed to help tackle the obesity crisis in the UK. The company later confirmed that the real reason for the change was triggered by rising costs.[5][6] In the UK, most Mars bars are still made at the Slough Trading Estate.


Mars bars have long been available in Canada, including limited edition flavours. Because of Canada's higher chocolate standards, the Canadian "Mars" is not considered a "chocolate bar" and is labelled instead as a "candy bar". In fact, unlike the American version, which labels the bar as "milk chocolate," the Canadian version makes no mention of chocolate on the front of the wrapper. Since mid-2006, all Mars bars produced in Canada are peanut-free. Mars is one of the few candy bars in North America for which no size of the product has any trace of peanuts. In February 2008, Mars Canada introduced a new variety of Mars bar called "Mars Caramel" to compete with the Cadbury Caramilk and Nestle Aero Caramel bars.

US version

The worldwide Mars bar differs from what is sold in the US.[7] The American version was discontinued in 2002[8] and was replaced with the slightly different Snickers Almond.[8] The US version of the Mars bar was relaunched in January 2010 and is initially being sold on an exclusive basis through Walmart stores. The European version of the Mars bar is also sold in some United States grocery stores. It was once again discontinued at the end of 2011.

The British Mars is very similar to the United States Milky Way bar, which Mars, Inc. produced (not to be confused with the European version of Milky Way, which is similar to the United States' 3 Musketeers).

Limited editions

Several limited-edition variants of Mars bars have been released in various countries. (These have often been permanent releases in other countries.) They include:

  • Mars Almond
  • Mars Dark and Light
  • Mars Midnight, white inside Mars bar but covered in dark chocolate. Now named Mars Dark, it is on permanent release in Canada, and was on a Limited Edition sale in the UK, as of October 2009.
  • Mars Gold
  • Mars Mini Eggs (Available around Easter)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Mars bar
  • Mars Triple Chocolate (Australia) A variant in which, despite the name, includes chocolate nougat and chocolate caramel. Also available as limited edition in United Kingdom (August 2011)
  • Mars Lite (Australia)
  • Mars Lava (Australia – Orange flavoured)
  • Mars Fling (Australia)
  • Mars Miniatures, 5 fun size bars in the same packet
  • Mars XXX (Australia) sold in gold wrapping.[9] It contains chocolate flavoured caramel and nougat. Now called the Mars Triple Chocolate.
  • Mars Chill (Australia, New Zealand and UK) – wrapper had 'Mars' written in white, turned to blue when cold
  • Mars Rocks (Australia and New Zealand), released by Mars Snackfood Australia in August 2007, is made of chocolate-malt nougat topped with a layer of caramel and covered with milk chocolate embedded with "crispies" (whose main ingredients are wheat flour and sugar).
  • Mars Red (Australia) – Mars bar with half the fat of a regular Mars bar. Has a red wrapper with 'Mars' written in black.
  • Mars World Cup (England) – Mars bar with the St George's Cross on the packaging to commemorate England's participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • Mars 100% Caramel – (Australia) – introduced in January 2011. It is simply a standard Mars Bar, but with the nougat removed. Also available in the UK as a limited edition as of 2012
  • Mars Vanilla – (Australia) – introduced April 2012. It is a standard Mars Bar with a vanilla flavoured nougat.
  • Mars Honeycomb – (Australia) – introduced in January 2013. It is a standard Mars Bar but with the nougat being honeycomb-flavoured.[10]

Spinoff products

Other products have also been released using the Mars branding.

  • Mars Delight
  • Mars Extra Chocolate Drink
  • Mars Active Energy Drink
  • Mars No Added Sugar Drink
  • Mars Ice Cream bars
  • Mars Midnight Ice Cream bars
  • McVities Mars Mini Rolls
  • Mars Bisc & (Australia and the UK – A biscuit with Mars topping)
  • Mars Pods (Australia and New Zealand – a small crunchy biscuit with Mars filling)
  • Mars Rocks
  • Mars Planets
  • Mars Mix

Custom packaging

The Original Mars bar in "Believe" packaging was sold in the UK from 18 April 2006 until the end of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in July. "Believe" took prominence on the packaging ("Original Mars" appeared in smaller print) to indicate support for the England national football team. Advertising in other nations of the UK was tailored to reflect their own teams after the public condemnation, although in Scotland the "Believe" packaging was still used – causing negative publicity.[11]

On 30 July 2008, the Tasmanian government announced that it had secured a major sponsor, Mars for a bid to enter the Australian Football League in a deal worth $4 million over 3 years and will temporarily change the name of its top-selling chocolate bar in Australia to Believe, to help promote Tasmania's cause.[12]

Mars were re-branded "Hopp" (engl. "Go!") in Switzerland during UEFA Euro 2008. Like the "Believe" packaging sold in the UK in 2006, "Original Mars" was also shown in smaller print.[13]

In 2010, to promote England's involvement in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the background of the UK Mars packaging became the St. George cross.

Advertising slogans


  • "Maxis from Mars" – United Kingdom (1969) A number of white Austin Maxis were driven around the country with numbers on the doors and if the number inside your Mars wrapper matched the Maxi you would see driving around your area you won that very car.
  • "Mars macht mobil bei Arbeit, Sport und Spiel" (Mars mobilises you at work, sports and play) – Germany (1980s and 1990s)
  • "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play" – Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand
  • "Out of this world!" – Australia, UK
  • "MARS LEGEND" – Australia
  • "Earth – what you'd eat if you lived on Mars" – New Zealand and Australia
  • "Another way to make your day" – UK (2005)[14]
  • "Feels good to be back! " – Australia (2005)
  • "An almond in every bite!" – US
  • "Un Mars, et ça repart" (A Mars, and you're off again) – France (late 1990s and renewed from 2006)
  • "Mars, que du bonheur" (Mars, only happiness) – France
  • "Mars, haal eruit wat erin zit!" (Mars, get out of it, what's in it) – The Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium
  • "Who knows? In 1,000 years we could all be sitting on Mars eating Earth bars." – United Kingdom (A full page advertisement placed in the official Guide Book for the Millennium Dome in 2000)


  • "Mars your day" – Australia
  • "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play" – Australia
  • "Recharge on Mars" – Canada
  • "Mars, pleasure you can't measure" – Europe
  • "Un coup de barre? Mars et ça repart!" (Feeling beat? A Mars and you're off again!) – France
  • "Nimm Mars, gib Gas" (Take Mars, step on the gas) – Germany
  • "Mars, momento di vero godimento" (Mars, a moment of pure enjoyment) – Italy
  • "Mars, geeft je energie" (Gives you energy) – The Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium
  • "Work-Rest-Play" – UK (later "Work-Rest-Play your part")
  • "Turn Up the Heat!" – (UK Promotional packs in 2010)

Deep-fried Mars bar

Main article: Deep-fried Mars bar

This is a Mars bar which has been coated with batter and deep-fried in oil or beef fat. First reports of battered Mars bars being sold in Stonehaven,[15][16] Scotland date back to 1995.[17] The product is "not authorised or endorsed" by Mars, Inc.[18]

Deep-fried Mars bars are available from some fish-and-chip shops in the UK (mainly in Scotland), Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and the United States.[19]

A similar dish has appeared in Kathmandu and Nepal, where momo (dumplings) have used Mars bars as fillings.

Australian recall

In July 2005, Mars bars, along with the Snickers bar, were recalled due to an anonymous extortion attempt against Star City Casino in Sydney. The extortionist claimed to have poisoned seven Mars and Snickers bars at random stores in New South Wales. As a result Masterfoods Corporation, the company that manufactures Mars bars in Australia, recalled the entire Mars and Snickers product from store shelves in New South Wales. Nineteen people were possibly affected, with two being admitted to hospital. In the later half of August 2005, the threat to the public was deemed negligible and the bars returned to shelves.

Animal products controversy

In May 2007 Mars UK announced that Mars bars, along with many of their other products such as Snickers, Maltesers, Minstrels and Twix would no longer be suitable for vegetarians because of the introduction of rennet, a chemical sourced from calves' stomachs used in the production of whey.[20]

The rabbinical authorities declared that the products remained kosher for Jewish consumption.[21]

The decision was condemned by several groups, with the Vegetarian Society stating that "at a time when more and more consumers are concerned about the provenance of their food, Mars' decision to use non-vegetarian whey is a backward step".

Mars later abandoned these plans, stating that it became "very clear, very quickly" that it had made a mistake.[22]


It has been observed on several occasions that the price of a Mars bar correlates fairly accurately with the change in value of the pound sterling since World War II, much in the way that the Big Mac Index has proven to be a good indicator of the actual relative purchasing power of world currencies.[23]


External links

  • The Visible Mars bar project, which shows the difference between US and UK Mars bars.
  • Site with cross-sections of both the original US and Canadian Mars bars
  • Slough History Online

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