Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where Have All the Mars Bars Gone?


Thanks to Lisa Byrnes of Clairemont, I now have the topic for my next CandyBlog! Lisa asks, "Can you tell me why Mars Bars disappeared... and can only be found in dark chocolate English style now?" 

After doing some research, I found several possible explanations. Some of my favorites include:
"George W Bush doesn't care about Mars Bars."
"God blessed us with the High 5 Bar and nothing else matters anymore."
"The English can't be trusted to determine what tastes good."

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above quotes do not necessarily reflect the views of CandyGirl or any of her affiliates. I apologize if George W. Bush, English palates, or the makers of the High 5 Bar are hurt or offended by the above opinions.

While all of these theories are truly fascinating, none of them explain the strange and sudden disappearance of the "original" Mars bar in 2000. But first, a little history lesson on the Mars Candy Company, which I will refer to from here on out as "The Nougat Empire". Follow closely, deciphering Mars corporate history is a little like unravelling the Da Vinci Code.

The Mars Candy Company started in 1911 when "The King of Nougat", Frank C. Mars, began selling butter creme candies from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington. One thing led to another, and by 1929, the Nougat Empire had moved to Chicago, where they make their nougat-filled confections to this day. In 1932, the King of Nougat gave his son, Forrest E. Mars, some seed money and the Milky Way recipe so that he could start his own candy company. The Prince of Nougat sailed off to England to find his fortune, and began selling the Mars Bar, which we in the States called a Milky Way. The Mars Bar was introduced in the United States in 1936 with a slightly different formula, since the English Mars Bar already existed in the United States as the Milky Way. The United States Mars Bar contained nougat and almonds topped with caramel and covered in chocolate as opposed to nougat, caramel and dark chocolate. And everyone was happy (if not a little confused) until 2000, when the Mars Bar mysteriously disappeared.

So I asked the folks over at Mars, what the heck happened? And this was what they had to say:

The MARS ALMOND BAR is no longer being marketed. Instead we have taken the MARS ALMOND BAR and enhanced the formula to create a better tasting chocolate and almond bar. The new bar is being remarketed as SNICKERS ALMOND BAR.
SNICKERS ALMOND BAR is now available in stores. We hope you will give it a try.
Have a great day!
Your Friends at Mars Snackfood US

While this doesn't really answer the question of why, it does prove that at least the Mars tradition of constantly changing a candy's name is alive and well! But all kidding aside, I decided to run over to the 7-11 across the street and give this new and enhanced formula a try. Let me start by saying that there are several blogs out there devoted to tasting and rating candy with a system so elegant and precise that it would put the best French sommelier to shame. This is not one of those blogs. But my humble opinion of this candy bar is this: if you love nougat, the King of Nougat will not disappoint you in this candy bar. Is it exactly the same as the original U.S. Mars bar? Not quite, but it's pretty darn good. I agree with our friends at Mars Snackfood US - you should give it a try.

And now, a little nostalgic entertainment for you, compliments of Old Time Candy

46 comments:

  1. This is great! I even went out and bought a Snickers Almond Bar...ummmmmmmmm-good. I loved the video.

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  2. The Mars bar is back, yes our original... My wife just bought 4 of them at Wal-Mart, she cut it open and it is the real Mars Almond recipe.

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    1. I agree, found them in Walmart Whiteville NC, not original packaging from the 70s but it is the same ingredients. Delicious!

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  3. I just bought another 4 from Wal-mart today, 2 last week. Had considered buying the whole box off the shelf!

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  4. Original Mars bars had no caramel.They were plain white nougat ,with whole almonds on the top,then coated with chocolate.

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    1. Tha'ts the Mars bar for me but in midnight chocolate ummmmmmm.

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    2. I agree people keep saying the snickers almond bar is like the original mars but news flash, it isn't. The original mars bar like you said had "only" nougat and almonds then dipped in chocolate so the taste isn't the same. Don't get me wrong I like the snickers almond but its not the same as the original mars bar and that's what I miss the most. My thing is if it isn't broke than don't fix it:-) all of our classic foods and snacks has been discontinued or recipes change on some of our snacks. I really wish the mars company bring back the originalmars bat. What's wrong with having both to see how the consumer like one over the other. Be blessed all:-)

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    3. I am so disappointed at the loss of the original mars bar as well. The snickers is OK but no caramel is better. Even the snickers bars are smaller too.

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  5. Regardless...it is the one that they had been selling in the 1980s-1990s and discontinued for 10 years. It passes as original to a lot of people.

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  6. The so-called almond Mars bar now made is nothing but a Snickers hybrid- not even close to the real orginal Mars bar in taste or texture. Dont fix it if it's not broken!
    It was the best tasting candy bar made. I'd give ten dollars for one.

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    1. Your not the only one. I hate Caramel!!! That's why I liked the Mars Bar so much. Just chocolate, nougat and almonds. I mean really hate caramel. I avoid it in ice cream and it's the reason I've never really gone crazy over a snickers bar. I grew up in the 50s and would mow lawns to buy Mars Bars. REALLY!!!

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  7. I had been wondering, too. What had happened to my all time favorite, chocolate almond bar? I moved abroad from 1974 on. Any and every time I would get back to the States I would treat myself to a Mars bar. I was really disappointed for many years at not finding the delicious Mars bar, the best! Now this is good news.

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  8. I am truly disappointed that the original Mars Bar is gone! It was my mother's favorite. She now has Alzheimers and is obsessed with looking for her favorite candy bar at every store.:( She will not settle for a substitute.

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  9. i love the mars bar and am shocked that i'm just finding out now that it was relaunched in 2010. i was faked out in 2006 when i was in italy and found "mars" bars all over the place. little did i know that the european version is more like a milky way - what a disappointment! now i have to see if i can find it somewhere other than walmart...

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  10. I wrote the company too(it's 2013 now) and also got a response from them, which prompted me to start a facebook group where we could all come together in attempt to save the Mars almond bar by voicing how much we still love them and want to buy them. It's called "Bring Back The Mars Almond Bar Because It's Super Awesome!" I hope to see you guys join me in these efforts.

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  11. I am a huge fan of the Mars Bar. I am not a small man either, believe me when I say I like my candy.....and, I want my Mars Bar back, PLEASE? A lot of people in the south are missing it. Don't get me wrong, but the Snickers w/almonds IS delicious, but it is not a MARS BAR. Hell, I believe we will all settle to just have both. And if you want a vote, then package the two of them together for a real treat to THE PEOPLE. Plain and simple....... :) Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back!!!!!!!!!!!!! David W. Smith~~~Pineville, Louisiana

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  12. I knew it, I knew it. I knew the original American Mars bar had almonds. Someone sent me the Mars bar from Canada, and it just isn't the same. Will have to try the Snickers Almond. Thanks for unraveling the mystery.

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  13. I am glad I'm not the only one missing mars bars next time I find the original bar I'm buying the whole box

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  15. Why not bring the original Mars Bar back, so many people thoroughly enjoyed them, including me. A snickers is just that, a snickers, it's good but it's not the Mars Bar. :(

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  16. I don't like it. It doesn't taste the same at all

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  17. I agree that Snickers Almond is NOT the same as Mars bars (the discontinued American version). And, like most Mars bars fans commenting in this thread, I don't like it nearly as much and stopped buying it after trying it a few times.

    The original Mars bar *did* have caramel, though I think it was less and perhaps not as firm, and the nougat seems different. I remember Mars nougat being softer and creamier. I've read in a few places that the Snickers Almond also contains crushed peanuts, so that might explain the difference, though it sounds like the Snickers Almond has been reformulated once or twice so the peanuts might be gone now, but it still doesn't taste the way I remember Mars bars.

    In any case, I'll add my voice to the chorus asking why there's no room for both bars. IF the reason for discontinuing the Mars bar was that it wasn't selling very well, then I'm disappointed but I can understand. A company's goal is to maximize its profits, and if a product I personally liked was dropped because it was a non-performer, so be it. That's how it works in a market economy.

    However, if the change was made because they determined through "market research" based on focus groups, surveys, and the opinions of Ivy League educated marketing executives that the new formula "tastes better", then shame on them. That's a stupid way to do business.

    The only real test is to sell the Snickers Almond and the original Mars bar side-by-side for a while, and there was never a point in time when they were both available. And that doesn't necessarily mean that the "winner" gets kept and the other one gets dropped. If they both sell then keep both!

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    1. The snickers almond bar is definitely not as good as the original mars bar. So much for change.

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  18. I miss the original Mars with almonds!!!! Snickers with almonds is good but not near as good as Mars with almonds :( how disappointing to learn I haven't been able to find them because they no longer exist, I thought I couldn't find them because I live in such a rural area :(

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  19. My sister and I loved the original Mars bar with almonds when we were young. We have talked about it so many times and how we wish it would come back. The Snickers with almonds is just that a Snickers with almonds; not a Mars bar with almonds. M&M Mars please heed to all of the requests and bring back the original Mars bar with the almonds on top.

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  20. I would only eat Mars bars as a kid, and I can say for certain that they did NOT have caramel.

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    1. ditto. I'm not snickering over the deception that the Milky Way or Snickers version are as good tasting as the Mars Bar. I don't like the think, syrupy taste and texture of caramel in candies or ice cream. BRING BACK THE MARS BAR.

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  21. I'm just not sure whether you folks prefer the original 1936 Mars bar without caramel, or the 1980 version with caramel added.

    I was born in 1981, so clearly the almonds and caramel version would have been the one I remember.

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    1. I grew up n the 50s in Chicago and it did not have yucky caramel. that's what made it stand out from the competition!!

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  22. i just wanna say UGH!! I miss the original Mars bar :(

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  23. Wow. So glad I found all these posts. I was beginning to think I was crazy, remembering a bar called Mars with Almonds when nobody else around me did. Bought one of the Snickers with Almonds the other day, and it was good but I knew it wasn't what I used to love years back because the Snickers had caramel, so I knew something was amiss. I'd grown up knowing that Snickers was a candy bar with peanuts in it...not almonds, and my brain kept telling me that the bar I used to eat was a MARS bar, but my husband just kept shaking his head at me and shrugging his shoulders. Did a search and found this forum. I'm not nuts (no pun intended) - lol. The Mars with Almonds had a better flavor and you didn't have to worry about caramel sticking all over your teeth. Sadly, they'll never listen to us and make the Mars bar again though. Companies never do things like that.

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  24. in the earlyyyyyyyyyyyy 1950's i loved the light, fluffy wide mars almond bar with light, not dark chocolate covering. no caramel. my thought is they were handled with care by delivery and counter personal. for the last 30 ywars or more, me have switched to a rush, slam and jam delivery system that the original bars could not stand up to, unless in individual steel boxes! sorry for my bad in the dark typing.

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    1. Great taste and texture description. YES, now I want a MARS BAR even more!!! My wife of 30 years is tired of my talking about how great the Mars Bar was whenever the subject of candy comes up!!! What's wrong with the marketers?? Like Coke coming out with new Coke. Everyone liked the original COKE. Wake up! Give us the original Mars Bar!!

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    2. My book club is reading "The Martian" and as I'm hosting, I thought it would be fun to have Mars bars for dessert. The only place I could find them was England. They were advertised with English chocolate (must be dark?). I can't wait to try one to see if it's similar to what I remember.

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  25. I, too, am nostalgic for the real Mars bar. Nothing compares. It was the best candy bar ever! They keep making things "new" and "improved" and ruin the enjoyment. Also, why do Skittles now have green apple flavored bits instead of lime ones? When I emailed the company, they gave me one of those "improved for the masses" responses. I stopped buying them, especially when I see they still make the lime flavor, but package it in some weird flavor combo package. Sorry to see these wonderful things go in the name of progress

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  26. I agree with all the commenters. "Where's the Mars"

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  27. I agree with all the commenters. "Where's the Mars"

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  28. I consumed many a Mars bar when growing up in the 60's. They were my all time favorite and did not have caramel in them. Does anyone else remember that they were wide, flat & had 6 almonds on top covered by chocolate? I'd eat it in 1/6th chunks so I'd get an almond in every bite.

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    1. I am so glad somebody else remembers it the way I do. Miss them!

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  29. My wife buys me Mars bars at World Market. They must be the English ones; no almonds,dark chocolate, caramel, and nougat. Pretty much a milky way and a poor substitute for the original Mars bar.

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  30. WOW! I thought I was the only one searching for the American version of the Mars Bar. Didn't know about the European version until this blog. The Almond Snicker is a joke but I figured they replaced the Mars with that mess. They need to bring back Mars Bar. I should have bought them up when Walmart had cases for sale. 😿😿😿😿😿

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  31. I too truly miss the original,no caramel, MARS BAR! Not this Snickers mess. That doesn't work for me. I grew up eating the MARS BAR. Creamy nougat, almonds and milk chocolate. Miss it! Bring it back!!!

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  32. I too truly miss the original,no caramel, MARS BAR! Not this Snickers mess. That doesn't work for me. I grew up eating the MARS BAR. Creamy nougat, almonds and milk chocolate. Miss it! Bring it back!!!

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  33. If Pepsi can periodically produce a version of their product made with real sugar, then why can't Mars periodically manufacture a throwback version of the original Mars bar.
    No caramel, just milk chocolate, nougat and almonds??????

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