Deep fried Mars bar ‘not in line with our marketing code’, says Mars

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

The deep fried or battered Mars bar was created in Scotland in 1992. Photo credit: Flickr - audrey_sel
The deep fried or battered Mars bar was created in Scotland in 1992. Photo credit: Flickr - audrey_sel

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Global food and drink giant Mars has issued a letter to a local fish and chip shop in Scotland asking it to add a disclaimer on battered Mars bars as the tradition is out of step with the confectioner’s marketing code to promote healthy active lifestyles.

The letter was sent to The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Scotland, the shop credited with the creation of the “Stonehaven deep-fried Mars bar”​ by covering the chocolate in batter.

Abstracts of the letter signed by Evie Kyriakides, Mars’ senior regional trademark counsel for Europe, were published in the national newspaper The Scotsman.

Mars has since confirmed to this site that the letter is accurate.

Healthy marketing code

The letter said: “We are flattered that you obviously like our Mars product so much and consider it a flagship for your Carron Fish Bar.

“However, we are concerned that the use and reference to our Mars brand and products may mislead the public into thinking that your products are in some way associated with, or endorsed by Mars, when this is not in fact the case.”

“We are also concerned that your products are not in line with our marketing code, through which we promote a healthy active lifestyle to consumers and treats in moderation.”

Disclaimer demands

The multinational asked the local fish shop to add the following disclaimer at the bottom of menus in the shop:

Mars is a registered trade mark of Mars Incorporated. Our use of Mars is not authorised or endorsed by Mars Incorporated

The confectioner said this would “avoid any consumer confusion” ​after Mars had reduced saturated fat levels in its Mars bar formulation.

Special protection? contacted The Carron Fish Bar, but nobody was available for comment.

The Scotsman reports that shop owner Lorraine Watson had considered applying for special protection under the European Union’s Protected Food Name Scheme, but said it would not be viable.

Mars recently announced plans to launch a limited edition caramel Mars bar in the UK with 20% less calories

A Mars spokesperson refused to comment on speculation as to what might happen if the shop refused to use the requested disclaimer.

Calorie reduction pledge

Confectioners in the UK have recently come under pressure from national government to reduce calories amid a growing obesity problem.

Leading firms such as Nestle, Mars and Kraft are among the signatories to The Public Health Responsibility Deal​, a UK government pledge to cut five billion calories from the nation’s daily diet.

Mars announced earlier this year that it would cap the calories of its chocolate items to 250 calories per portion by the end of 2013.

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healthy lifestyles

Posted by B Thomas,

Surely the most that Mars should request (not require), if they would like the f&c shop to comply with their code, is that they also advertise that their product should be considered a "treat in moderation". However, if the f&c shop have purchased the product it is nothing to do with Mars any longer so why on earth should it comply with their marketing code? If i choose to make fat-laden cheeseburgers out of the organic meat i might buy from Marks and Spencer and then market it i would not expect to have them breathing down my neck about their marketing code - it would have moved on in the supply chain. Why don't the f&c shop market it as a "deep-fried candy bar" rather than a Mars bar - it would be clear what it is and remove them from any heavy-handed dealings from larger more powerful corporates.

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A legitimate trademark request, masked in hipocrisy

Posted by Chris S,

I can understand not wanting your trademark used without the disclaimer, but why throw in the laughable "marketing code" reference? Is Mars suggesting that eating candy bars somehow fits into an active, healthy lifestyle?

This seems like the candy world's equivalent of the "*Wink*Wink Don't mix with alcohol" disclaimers energy drink makers use.

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