By Judy Anne Swift
In my humble opinion the Mars bar is a 6/10 chocolate bar – it has its place but it does not rock my world and is often rattling around at the end of a tin of Celebrations along with the Milky Ways.
But on a recent trip to a Post Office, I spied something new, a Mars Protein bar boasting 19g of protein (close to the magic 20g discussed by Anthony Warner early in the Month). In the interests of science I was compelled to purchase one and engage my family in a taste-test. I rather randomly picked up a Snickers as slightly-higher-protein alternative (4.5g vs. 2.2g) to the standard Mars bar for comparison.
Due to the warm weather the bars were chilled somewhat and presented to the family. Immediately it was evident that the Mars Protein looked weird. There was no ripples of thick chocolate on the top and the caramel layer was much thinner.
The Mars Protein was notably less sweet and there was no satisfying bite through the outer coating, but so far, so acceptable. The problems arose with the nougat which was… hard work. Chewy, powdery and furry where terms employed by the family.
Sadly there were no takers for the remaining piece of Mars Protein bar and the rest was thrown in the bin. (Literally unheard of for our house!)
From a manufacturers perspective, this product is all about cashing into the protein supplement market aimed at gym users and body-builders. And it’s not just available as Mars, but also as Snickers and Bounty bars – all offering the ‘same great taste’ as the original but in a 200kcal product that is described as suitable as a post-gym snack. There is even Mars Whey Protein Powder available:
So what’s my beef? Well, if we park for the moment the debate regarding the actual requirement for extra protein, we are still left with products that compromise pleasure (they simply do not taste as good as the originals) in the pursuit of health. Denial of pleasure and the associated guilt (when self imposed rules are violated) do not make for a healthy relationship with food.
So far these products are hardly visible outside of the protein supplement market place. Here’s hoping that Mars Protein bars and the like do not become fixtures in confectionary aisles near you.