How the ‘healthy’ Mars, Snickers, Bounty and Galaxy bars REALLY compare to the nation’s favourite sweet treats: Fruit and nut-packed versions with up to 100 FEWER calories and 45% less sugar taste ‘grainy’ and ‘flavourless’ (and they cost 20p extra!)
- EXCLUSIVE: Mars last week revealed ‘Triple Treat’ versions of its chocolate bars, which are 75% ‘fruit and nut’
- Move is to comply with crackdown on obesity crisis, which will ban junk food from checkouts from October
- Bounty’s slimmed down version contains 109 fewer calories while lighter Mars bar is 45% less sugary
- MailOnline reporters sampled the new snacks to see how they measured up against the original bars
Dozens of health-conscious ideas have divided the nation over recent years, from Gregg’s vegan sausage roll to McDonald’ plant-based burger.
The newest ‘healthy’ offering by chocolate giant Mars has yet to have the same polarising effect.
However, some are still furious about the ‘Triple Treat’ range, claiming the slimmed-down alternatives to Britain’s most beloved confectionary — the Mars bar, Snickers, Bounty and Galaxy — are an attempt to ‘tell people what to eat’.
The bars, set to hit the shelves next month, are loaded with date paste, nuts and raisins. It means, technically, they are 75 per cent ‘fruit and nut’.
Mars brags that the offerings contain up to 40 per cent fewer calories of the originals, and nearly half as much sugar.
But they cost up to 20p more and weigh significantly less, which has wound up dozens of Britons who labelled the move as a ‘nanny state’ scheme that is ‘meddling with personal choice’.
The move is only to comply with the Government’s crackdown on the UK’s obesity crisis, which will see foods high in fat, sugar or salt banned from checkouts and store entrances from October.
MailOnline reporters got their hands on the four new snacks, allowing us to see how they measured up against the original chocolate bars. Here’s our verdict…
The newest ‘healthy’ offering by chocolate giant Mars has — the ‘Triple Treat’ range — offers a slimmed-down alternatives to Britain’s most beloved confectionary — the Mars bar, Snickers, Bounty and Galaxy. The bars, set to hit the shelves next month, are loaded with date paste, nuts and raisins. It means, technically, they are 75 per cent ‘fruit and nut’. Mars brags that the offerings contain up to 40 per cent fewer calories of the originals, and nearly half as much sugar. But they cost up to 20p more and weigh significantly less, which has wound up dozens of Britons who labelled the move as a ‘nanny state’ scheme that is ‘meddling with personal choice’
The versions of Galaxy bars (left, bottom and right, right) are almost identical in weight (42g compared to 40g). But the healthier option has 58 fewer calories, four times less saturated fat and contains nearly a third less sugar
The Triple Treats Mars bar (left, bottom and right, right) contains 173 calories, a quarter fewer than the 228 calories in the original version, although it is bigger, as it is sold as a 51g. It also contains half as much saturated fat – 2g down from 4.1g. The healthier option also contains nearly twice as much protein (3.9g) compared to a classic Mars (2.2g)
The confectionary giant today revealed ‘Triple Treat’ versions of its chocolate bars (right), which are 75 per cent ‘fruit and nut’ and contain date paste, nuts and raisins. Bounty’s slimmed down version contains 109 calories fewer than the original. And the lighter Mars bar is 45 per cent less sugary a classic Mars bar
Galaxy Triple Treat
I tried the Galaxy Triple Treat and found that while it’s dunked and drizzled in chocolate, it’s texture is more akin to a protein bar
Connor: The ‘healthy’ Galaxy bar was certainly not out of this world. It was, however, grainy, dry and almost entirely flavourless — much like I imagine moon dust tasting. At 171 calories you’re only saving about 20 per cent of a standard Galaxy chocolate bar. So my advice is take the staircase instead of the lift at work and enjoy the rich milky smoothness of the OG. 4/10
John: The healthy Galaxy is the most divergent from the original out of all these skinny chocolates, at least in terms of looks. Instead of a block of chocolate you get what looks like a disappointing breakfast bar drizzled with a bit of melted chocolate. Unfortunately the result tastes much the same. 5/10
Emily: Galaxy’s healthy makeover has the same sweet taste as the original. But lovers of the smooth milk chocolate bar might not be fans of the texture of the healthier alternative, which is more akin to a protein bar. While it’s dunked and drizzled in the chocolate, it has a fruity aftertaste and is only 55 calories lighter – meaning chocolate fans may be prefer to stick with the original. 5/10
Joe: Galaxy chocolate is famed for its luxurious, silky texture, made famous in its advert featuring Audrey Hepburn being driven along the Amalfi Coast in Italy. But unfortunately for those seeking the same thrill with less calories, its Triple Treat alternative is more like a bus ride through Slough. Dry, stodgy and stale, the new bar tastes overwhelmingly of raisins and pales in comparison to its chocolatey original. 2/10
Mars Triple Treat
Connor Boyd, our deputy health editor, said Mars’ makeover was ‘bland’ and ‘terribly boring’
Connor: Put it this way, I’d rather be stranded on Mars than pay for one of these. At least the others have peanuts or coconut or other flavours to break up the blandness. It’s not terrible — it’s just terribly boring. You save a fifth on calories but you also lose out on a fifth of the size. The healthy version weighs 40grams compared to the 51grams in the original. 3.5/10
John: A childhood favourite of mine and for that reason this healthy version doesn’t tick any boxes for me. The lack of delicious caramel is a crime against Mars-lovers everywhere. Hand this out at Halloween and expect to get your house egged. 4/10
Emily: Fans of the confectionary marker’s most sugary snack – the Mars bar – may be disappointed that they miss out on the same sweet taste in the new nut and date-based version. But when they see it has 45 per cent less sugar – around 13.7g fewer – and chunks of caramel on top, it may be worth the swap. Although, as with all of the new versions, the bar has a claggy texture that chocolate aficionados will likely turn their nose up at. 4/10
Joe: The classic chocolate bar was always going to be hard to top but the folks at Mars seem to not have even tried when devising their new eponymous bar. Unlike its gooey, chewy full-fat cousin, the healthier alternative has a protein bar-like consistency – and tastes like you would rather lift weights than ‘work, rest, play’. There’s also a slightly worrying medicinal aftertaste. 3/10
Senior health reporter John Ely had his say on the Snickers. The verdict: ‘I thought the healthy Snickers bar tasted the most like the original, which just a hint of fruitiness at the end. But the texture was disappointing’
Snickers Triple Treat
Connor: The original Snickers is my favourite chocolate bar. So even before taking a bite of this healthy alternative I had a ‘soft’ spot for it. But I’m afraid to say it was bone dry. The gooey caramel that sandwiches the nougat and upper chocolate layer in the original bar was sorely missed in this case. I’ve had better tasting breakfast bars. 5/10
John: Snickers already contains nuts so, in theory, a healthier version shouldn’t have to deviate as the other chocolates on this list. And compared to some of the others I thought the healthy Snickers bar tasted the most like the original, which just a hint of fruitiness at the end. But the texture was disappointing, quite dry and grainy, a far cry from the satisfying chew of the classic. 6/10
Emily: Snickers Triple Treat bears the strongest resemblance to the classic chocolate bar compared to all of the other versions. The new snack is just as peanut-dense and crunchy as a Snickers, although it is slightly more chewy and less chocolatey. 8/10
Joe: The best of the bunch, Snickers new bar hits you in the face with a burst of peanut. Slightly saltier than the original and not nearly as sweet, the healthier treat stays truer to its foundational flavour source. Get some nuts! 7/10
Health reporter Joe Davies found: ‘The Bounty offers a toned-down tribute to its original inspiration, making for a more subtle hint at the topical beaches with coconut palms we have come to expect’
Bounty Triple Treat
Connor: Everyone knows the Bounty is the most disliked of all Celebrations chocolates. But those who complain they are ‘too coconutty’ might be in luck. This healthy alternative has a deeper chocolatey taste than the rest and there is just enough coconut to crunch on to prevent you from tiring of the dry texture that seems to be a theme in all of these bars. You don’t really even really get the nut or fruit, which is probably a good thing for most chocolate lovers. 7/10
John: I’m an unapologetic Bounty hater and always leave them orphaned in a Celebrations selection for some coconut loving weirdo to devour. So for me the less coconutty taste of the skinnier alternative was better than the original. But tasting better than a Bounty is a low bar, and like the other skinny chocolates this one had a dense dry interior. 7/10
Emily: Those tucking into a fruit and nut version of a Bounty won’t miss out on a strong hit of coconut, while eating 109 calories fewer than if they had snacked on the traditional version. But what they save in calories they may lose in enjoyment as the healthier option is grainier than chewier than the original. 7/10
Joe: Everyone has that one weird uncle who picks out all the Bountys from the Celebrations box at Christmas. But the new version may be just right for all the family, with less of an all-consuming fake coconut taste. The Bounty offers a toned-down tribute to its original inspiration, making for a more subtle hint at the topical beaches with coconut palms we have come to expect. 6/10
Snickers’ reinvention (left, bottom and right, right) is 29 per cent less calorific – 174 compared to 245. It also has 2.6g less saturated fat and a fifth less sugar. However, the new product is around a tenth smaller
Bounty Triple Treat (left, bottom and right, right) has 109 fewer calories and six times less saturated fat than the original, as well as being 38 per cent less sugary and being packed with an extra 1.4g of protein. However, the classic Bounty is almost 50 per cent bigger than the new product (57g compared to 40g) — meaning Britons are getting less for their cash
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
The Triple Treats Mars bar contains 173 calories, a quarter fewer than the 228 calories in the original version, although it is bigger, as it is sold as a 51g. It also contains half as much saturated fat – 2g down from 4.1g.
The healthier option also contains nearly twice as much protein (3.9g) compared to a classic Mars (2.2g).
Snickers’ reinvention is 29 per cent less calorific – 174 compared to 245. It also has 2.6g less saturated fat and a fifth less sugar. However, the new product is around a tenth smaller.
Bounty Triple Treat has 109 fewer calories and six times less saturated fat than the original, as well as being 38 per cent less sugary and being packed with an extra 1.4g of protein.
However, the classic Bounty is almost 50 per cent bigger than the new product (57g compared to 40g) — meaning Britons are getting less for their cash.
The versions of Galaxy bars are almost identical in weight (42g compared to 40g). But the healthier option has 58 fewer calories, four times less saturated fat and contains nearly a third less sugar.
Mars also owns the Twix and M&Ms but there has been no word yet on whether new versions of the well-loved treats will also be available.
Kerry Cavanaugh, the marketing director at Mars Wrigley UK said: ‘Triple Treat does exactly what it says on the tin.
‘It’s packed with a knockout trio of fruit, nuts and our iconic chocolate, and is delightfully delicious to boot.
‘We’re thrilled Brits can now enjoy a great tasting – and HFSS compliant — Galaxy, Mars, Snickers and Bounty treat. It’s tasty reinvented.’
But the move wound up dozens of Britons. Twitter-user Colin Browne said: ‘Why do those of us who enjoy sweet things but control our weight responsibly, have to suffer because of the weak willed overweight gluttons.’
Others accused ministers of ‘meddling with personal choice’ and labelled them ‘kill joys’.
Another social media user said if the healthy versions taste the same then ‘people will eat two’ and if they don’t ‘no one will buy them’. ‘The Government need to stop this nannying it will not work,’ they said.
Katharine Jenner, campaign director at Action on Sugar, told MailOnline: ‘It’s interesting to see that certain manufacturers are investing heavily in developing their traditionally “less healthy” foods so that they are compliant with the new advertising and promotions restrictions which were due to come into force from October.
‘The fact that the Government is now doing on a U-turn on their own obesity strategy, which has already started driving nutritional improvements, is ludicrous and offensive to all of those trying to improve child health.’
The move is aimed at complying with the Government’s crackdown on the obesity crisis.
The Prime Minister announced a crackdown on obesity in 2020 after a near-fatal bout of Covid which he attributed to being overweight.
As part of the plan, new laws stopping foods high in fat, sugar and salt from being prominently displayed in stores.
And a rule came into effect earlier this month requiring restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 staff to list calories on their menus.
But Boris Johnson has, U-turned on separate rules which would have banned BOGOF and other multi-buy junk food deals. Free refills of sugary soft drinks will also be allowed for another year, despite plans to axe them.
Mars is the first major confectionery business to launch HFSS-compliant products ahead of the new junk food rules, with more sweet-makers expected to follow.
Cadbury owner Mondelez International, the world’s second largest confectionery firm behind Mars, launched a skinny Dairy Milk range in 2019 with 30 per cent less sugar but found it still fell afoul of the rules.
The Government’s sugar tax also forced some manufacturers to change recipes to make them less sweet.
Ministers will provide local authorities with the option of issuing civil penalties for non-compliance with the new rules.
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