Mars (chocolate bar)

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Mars.png MBar 700.jpg
Place of originSlough, Berkshire, England
Region or stateWorldwide
Created byForrest Mars
Invented1932; 88 years ago (1932)
Main ingredientsChocolate, caramel, nougat
Food energy
(per 51g serving)
228 or about 230[1] kcal
Nutritional value
(per 51g serving)
Protein2.2 g
Fat8.5 g
Carbohydrate35.3 g

Mars is a variety of chocolate bar produced by Mars, Incorporated. It was first manufactured in 1932 in Slough, England by Forrest Mars, Sr.[2] 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".


UK and worldwide[edit]

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[3]), modelled after his father's Milky Way bar, which was already popular in the US.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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packs); a larger multi-pack size of 54 g; the regular sized single 58 g bar and a "king-size" 84 g bar which has since been replaced by "Mars Duo" (85 g) – a pack that contains 2 smaller bars of 42.5 g each instead of 1 large one.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.[citation needed]

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.[7] In 2013, the "standard" Mars bar was further reduced to 51 g, bringing the change to around 20% in 5 years.[8]

United States[edit]

A U.S Mars bar

The worldwide Mars bar differs from that sold in the US.[9] The American version was discontinued in 2002[10] 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.[10] 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.[citation needed] 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[11][12] Unlike Snickers Almond and later incarnations of the American Mars bar, this bar does not contain caramel.


In May 2009 the Mars Bar size reduced from 60g to 53g, citing portion sizes and the obesity debate as the primary driver.[13]

Limited editions[edit]

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 Almonds, sold as Almondites in Australia during the '90s
  • Mars King Size (UK)[14]
  • Mars Dark and Light
  • Mars Delight (discontinued)
  • Mars Eggs (1995) UK
  • 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 Maple (Canada)
  • 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-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.[15] 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.
  • 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.[16]
  • Mars Loaded – (Australia) – introduced January 2014. It is a standard Mars bar with a chocolate-flavoured nougat, chocolate-flavoured caramel and a slightly darker chocolate coating
  • Mars Caramel Sundae (Australia) - vanilla ice cream-flavored nougat

Spinoff products[edit]

Other products have also been released using the Mars branding.

  • Mars Delight (discontinued in the UK as of 2009)
  • 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 Biscuits (Australia and the UK – a biscuit with Mars topping)
  • Mars Pods (Australia and New Zealand – a small crunchy wafer shell with Mars filling, also available in variants)[17]
  • Mars Rocks
  • Mars Planets
  • Mars Mix
  • Mars Frozen Dessert Bar[18]
  • Mars Protein - A mars bar with less sugar and added protein, this comes as a 50g size. Packaging claims "More protein, 40% less sugar" to a normal mars bar.

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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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]


  • "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
  • "Another way to make your day" – UK (2005)[22]
  • "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 the most out of 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" – UK, 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[edit]

Deep-fried Mars bar advertisement in Edinburgh, 2009

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[23][24] date back to 1995.[25] The product is "not authorised or endorsed" by Mars, Inc.[26]

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.[27]

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


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]

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.[28][29][30]

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.[31]

The rabbinical authorities declared that the products remained kosher for Jewish consumption.[32]

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.[33]


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.[34]


  1. ^ "Mars Nutrition".
  2. ^ "Mars Chocolate". Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  3. ^ Sweet Talk: the Secret History of Confectionery, Whittaker, Nicholas, Gollancz, 1997
  4. ^ ". 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.
  5. ^ "Guardian Unlimited, "Mars bar"". 18 March 2002. Retrieved 23 July 2006.
  6. ^ "UK: Mars re-branding offers consumers pleasure, not power".
  7. ^ "Mars bars shrink in size". The Daily Telegraph. London. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  8. ^ Linney Group. "Mars®". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  9. ^ "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."
  10. ^ a b "Snickers Almond Mars bar". Retrieved 7 August 2007. Snickers Almond "is the replacement for the classic Mars bar"
  11. ^ Chocolates, Ethel M. "The Relaunch of a Blast from the Past - Ethel M Chocolates Brings Back Original 1932 Mars Bar". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  12. ^ "The Original Mars Bar Is Back". Food & Wine. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "R.I.P. King-size chocolate bars".
  15. ^ "Article on mentioning introduction of Mars XXX".
  16. ^ "Lolly Addict – Australian Confectionery Reviews".
  17. ^ Mars Pods Packet 2014
  18. ^ John Shepherd (18 July 2016). "Mars launches range of frozen desserts". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  19. ^ Davidson, Lynn (2006). "We're Not Buying It". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 3 September 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Mars/Hopp". Wirz Gruppe. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  22. ^ "Mars to make your day". Grocer.[dead link]
  23. ^ McColm, Euan (26 February 2000). "No Haven for the Deep Fried Mars Bar; Birthplace of the Battered Choccy Treat Closes Down". Daily Record.
  24. ^ "French batter Mars bars menu". BBC News.
  25. ^ Original source, Scottish Daily Record (17 December 2004). "Deep-fried Mars myth is dispelled". BBC News online. Retrieved 15 November 2006.
  26. ^ Brocklehurst, Steven (6 September 2012). "Deep-fried Mars bars: A symbol of a nation's diet?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Deep Fried Mars bars at ChipShop in Brooklyn NY".
  28. ^ "Mars recalls chocolate in 55 countries". BBC News. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  29. ^ "Mars Recalls Chocolate Products in 55 Countries". New York Times. 23 February 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  30. ^ Hanif, Nadeem (24 February 2016). "UAE part of worldwide chocolate recall by Mars". The National. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Mars starts using animal products". BBC News website.
  32. ^ "LBD Kashrut Division — It's Kosher anyWhey!". Archived from the original on 6 April 2012.
  33. ^ "Mars bars get veggie status back". BBC News. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  34. ^ Nico Colchester Fellowship (26 January 2001). "Mars bar". Financial Times website. Retrieved 13 January 2007.


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