Mars is a variety of chocolate bar produced by Mars, Incorporated. It was first manufactured in 1932 in Slough, England by Forrest Mars, Sr. The bar was sold in two different formulations. In its original British version the bar consists of caramel and nougat coated with milk chocolate, developed to resemble the American chocolate bar known as the Milky Way, which had been introduced a decade earlier. An American version of the Mars Bar was produced which had nougat and toasted almonds covered in milk chocolate; later, caramel was added to the recipe as well. The American version was discontinued in 2002, and then revived the following year under the name "Snickers Almond".
The pre-2002 Mars logo, which is still used in some countries
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 (originally advertised as using Cadbury's chocolate couverture), modelled after his father's Milky Way bar, which was already popular in the US. 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 gold-edged lettering.
In 2002, the Mars bar was reformulated and its logo was updated with a more cursive appearance except in Australia where it is still has the pre-2002 logo. Its price also increased. The nougat was made lighter, the chocolate on top became thinner, and the overall weight of the bar was reduced slightly. The slogan "Pleasure you can't measure" was intended to appeal more to women and youths.
Various sizes are made (sizes as of 2008): 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packs); a larger multi-pack size of 54 g; the regular sized single 58 g bar and a "king-size" 84 g bar which has since been replaced by "Mars Duo" (85 g) – a pack that contains 2 smaller bars of 42.5 g each instead of 1 large one.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.
In the second half of 2008, Mars UK reduced the weight of regular bars from 62.5 g to 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 rising costs. In 2013, the "standard" Mars bar was further reduced to 51 g, bringing the change to around 20% in 5 years.
The worldwide Mars bar differs from that sold in the US. The American version was discontinued in 2002 and was replaced with the slightly different Snickers Almond featuring nougat, almonds, and a milk chocolate coating. Like the later recipe changes to the American Mars bar, Snickers Almond also contains caramel. The US version of the Mars bar was relaunched in January 2010 and was 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. The US version was once again discontinued at the end of 2011. In September 2016, Ethel M. Chocolates, a gourmet chocolate subsidiary of Mars, Inc. launched the 'original American recipe' of the Mars Bar in their stores and on Amazon.com. Unlike Snickers Almond and later incarnations of the American Mars bar, this bar does not contain caramel.
The Canadian Mars bars, as with all Mars Bars outside the US, are very similar to the United States Milky Way, which Mars, Inc. also produces (not to be confused with the European version of Milky Way, which is similar to the United States' 3 Musketeers).
In May 2009 the Mars Bar size reduced from 60g to 53g, citing portion sizes and the obesity debate as the primary driver.
Within Australia there is debate regarding halal certification. Also within the Muslim community there is debate on the virtue of halal certification for products such as Mars bars.
A Mars Almond split
Several variants of Mars bars have been released in various countries, either as limited edition or permanent releases. They include:
Mars Triple Chocolate (Australia) a variant in which, despite the name, includes chocolate-based nougat and chocolate-based caramel. Also available as a limited edition in the United Kingdom in August 2011, later re-released in 2015 as Mars Xtra Choc and in 2017 as "Mars Choc Brownie"
Mars Lite (Australia)
Mars Lava (Australia) - orange-flavored nougat; discontinued in 2004.
Mars Fling (Australia)
Mars Miniatures, five fun size bars in the same packet
Mars XXX (Australia) sold in gold wrapping. It contains chocolate flavoured caramel and nougat. Now called the Mars Triple Chocolate.
Mars Chill (Australia, New Zealand and the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
"Earth – what you'd eat if you lived on Mars" – New Zealand
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, Scotland date back to 1995. The product is "not authorised or endorsed" by Mars, Inc.
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.
On 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.
In February 2016, Mars, Snickers and various other Mars, Inc. chocolate products were recalled in 55 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The precautionary recall was issued after a customer found pieces of plastic in a Snickers bar purchased in Germany. The error was traced back to a Mars, Inc. factory in Veghel, The Netherlands.
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.
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.
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.
^"Mars bars". Practically Edible, "The Web's Biggest Food Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. 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."