Mars (chocolate bar)

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Mars bar
Alternative namesMars
Place of originWorldwide
Region or stateMost
CreatorForrest Mars
Year of invention1932
Ingredients generally usedChocolate
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Mars bar
Alternative namesMars
Place of originWorldwide
Region or stateMost
CreatorForrest Mars
Year of invention1932
Ingredients generally usedChocolate

Mars (also Mars bar) is a chocolate bar manufactured by American chocolate company 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 bore the Mars bar name. Featuring nougat, soft caramel, almonds, and a milk chocolate coating, the American Mars bar was discontinued in 2002. A similar bar featuring the Mars name was relaunched in the US in 2010.

Worldwide version[edit]

An open bar

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 51g 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.


A US Mars bar split

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[edit]

A US Mars bar

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[edit]

A Mars Almond split

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

Spinoff products[edit]

Other products have also been released using the Mars branding.

Custom packaging[edit]

Mars Believe

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[edit]



Deep-fried Mars bar[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Australian recall[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Animal products controversy[edit]

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]


  1. ^ ". Of the people working in the factory Alexander Wind was a major influence. He came up with the idea for the caramel filling in the bar which had previously not existed. The history of Mars can be traced back to 1932". Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Guardian Unlimited, "Mars bar"". 18 March 2002. Retrieved 23 July 2006. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Mars bars shrink in size". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 June 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Poulter, Sean (3 June 2009). "Shrinking Mars bar: Size cut by 7.2% but price stays the same". Daily Mail (London). 
  7. ^ "Mars bars". Practically Edible, "The Web's Biggest Food Encyclopedia". Retrieved 7 August 2007. What is sold outside the US as a "Mars bar" is sold in the US as "Milky Way". What is sold outside the US as "Milky Way" is sold inside the US as "3 Musketeers." 
  8. ^ a b "Snickers Almond Mars bar". Retrieved 7 August 2007. Snickers Almond "is the replacement for the classic Mars bar" 
  9. ^ "Article on mentioning introduction of Mars XXX". 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Davidson, Lynn (2006). "We're Not Buying It". Daily Record. Retrieved 19 February 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ Mars has committed $4 million over three years and will temporarily change the name of its top-selling chocolate bar in Australia to Believe, to help promote Tasmania's cause.
  13. ^ "Mars/Hopp". Wirz Gruppe. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Mars to make your day". Grocer. [dead link]
  15. ^ McColm, Euan (26 February 2000). "No Haven for the Deep Fried Mars Bar; Birthplace of the Battered Choccy Treat Closes Down". Daily Record. 
  16. ^ "French batter Mars bars menu". (BBC News). 
  17. ^ Original source, Scottish Daily Record (2004-12-17). ""Deep-fried Mars myth is dispelled"". (BBC News online). Retrieved 15 November 2006. 
  18. ^ Brocklehurst, Steven (6 September 2012). "Deep-fried Mars bars: A symbol of a nation's diet?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Deep Fried Mars bars at ChipShop in Brooklyn NY". 
  20. ^ "Mars starts using animal products". (BBC News website). 
  21. ^ "LBD Kashrut Division — It’s Kosher anyWhey!". 
  22. ^ "Mars bars get veggie status back". BBC News. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Nico Colchester Fellowship (26 January 2001). "Mars bar". Financial Times website. Retrieved 13 January 2007. 

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