Every now and then, we all need a chocolate fix…this is my sweetheart’s…
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. Today the basic recipe is unaltered but the size of the bar and the proportions of the main components have changed over the years.
In 2002, the UK Mars bar was reformulated and repackaged. This made it sell for more money. The nougat was made lighter, the chocolate on top became thinner, and the overall weight of the bar was reduced slightly. 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 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.’ The packaging was also redesigned with a less-bold and a more cursive logo.
The slogan “Pleasure you can’t measure”, was intended to appeal to a more feminine, youthful market.
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packs); a larger multi-pack size of 54 g; the regular sized single 58 g bar and a “king-size” 84 g bar which has since been replaced by “Mars Duo” (91 g) – a pack that contains 2 smaller bars instead of 1 large one. The regular 58 gram single bar contains 260 kilocalories.
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. In the UK, most Mars bars are still made at the Slough Trading Estate.