King Size Candy Bars: Is Less More?

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by Jessica Prokop

This week, it’s big news that Mars, Inc. will be limiting the portion size of its products to 250 calories or less. The world has begun mourning the death of the King Size Snickers. If you need to stock up before your favorites disappear forever, check out our King Size Candy Bar section.

Controlling Portions

Some candy bars will get smaller. But this doesn’t necessarily mean only small packs will be available. The word “portion” seems to be important here. Take a King Size Snickers. There are actually three portions in there, but eating them that way isn’t so realistic, especially since those three portions come in the form of two bars. You can expect to see more clearly portioned candies with better saving-for-later potential. Mars has already achieved this by introducing several 2toGo versions of classic candy bars. With modifications like this, the greatest difference could be a psychological one. Some studies have shown that we tend to eat less when our snacks are divided into smaller portions.

What’s the Meaning of This?

Across social media, this downsizing has been met with distrust. Some believe it’s a ploy to avoid proposed taxes on non-nutritional food items. Others insist it’s just another way to charge higher prices for less volume of product. Since we’re not exactly experiencing a Renaissance of corporate trust these days, plenty of theories have been raised as to why King Size candy bars are going away.

Mars is sticking with a more positive message of helping consumers be more healthy. You don’t have to believe them, but reducing portion size is just one of many seemingly well-meaning initiatives going on over at Mars. They have a wide array of goals in the interest of living up to their 5 principles of quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, and freedom. Some changes have already been implemented, and others are on the way. Mars has committed not to advertise to kids younger than 12. They’ve also opted out of selling through elementary-school vending machines, which is pretty cool.  And it’s scary to some consumers, but by 2015 Mars will cut the sodium content of all its foods by 25%.

Some Healthy Goals

To take this commitment even further, Mars has developed a three-tiered approach to promoting health and nutrition. Information goals include clear labeling and nutrition information. The company has also developed relationships with a number of nutrition-centric organizations, including some working to end the child obesity epidemic. Portion resizing is part of renovation, which also includes the reduction of trans and saturated fats. And innovation will bring us portion-friendly packaging and healthy new snack products.

Change is in the Air

Mars is leading the pack and making lots of changes in the name of nutrition. But it looks like other companies aren’t far behind them. Many manufacturers, including Hershey and Nestle, have agreed to cut calories and portion sizes by 2016. Whenever a company changes a time-tested product — especially a nostalgic one — they risk losing loyal customers. Sure, all this talk of nutrition could be sugar-coating cuts to counter rising chocolate prices and transportation costs.  But with the nutrition challenges facing the U.S., does it matter? Are you cool with the change? Would you rather pay more to get the same products you know and love? Share your perspective in the comments.

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