UK: Review of New Mars Confectionery: Maltesers Teasers
I thought I would review Mars Confectionery's brand new chocolate bar and give it a bit of a grilling:-
BRITISH/FOREIGN: Foreign, it is American owned (so not local though they employ staff in Slough)
COST: It varies. 60p (35g bar) - I purchased it from a Co-operative shop in London. I wasn't given a free sample wrapped up in red ribbon by Mars. I gather from @kevvieguy, a snack reviewer on Twitter, that it was 57p in Asda and Tesco. I am not sure if these are promotional prices and whether it will rocket to say 80p eventually if people get 'hooked'.It was still quite expensive for what it was. (Well, I do remember the days when Mars bars were 20p) I went to an independent newsagent today in Waterloo, London and it was as much as 70p. If you buy it online, it is really expensive, with the P & P added.
WHAT IS IT: Basically a long Malteser, with a few strange bumpy bits that could be broken up for sharing. There were no markings on it, it was extremely plain to look at.In fact, it looked like they 'haven't finished with it'. It almost looked like it was made by a small child. Some people on Twitter said they look obscene, others say they look like bottoms or haemorrhoids.I thought they looked like boobs, messed up by dodgy plastic surgery, and something from an 'erotic emphorium'.
I used to be a member of the Chocolate Society so I am a bit picky, I do like my chocolate to look good and be crafted well, rather than slapdash.
TASTE: More like a biscuit, quite hard in fact. I would recommend breaking it off with your fingers, rather than biting with your teeth, particularly if you have veneers. I thought it would be much softer. It did have a nice creamy taste, although it was a biscuit, if that makes sense. It wasn't gooey and fluffy. I was quite surprised how biscuity and thin it was. By the time you got the wrapper off, it just didn't look like much.
It was not sickly like Maltesers as there was less milk chocolate round it. It was 'ok' but I wasn't bowled over by it. However, when you have one, you want to eat the lot. At least with Maltesers, you can eat a few, and the rest you can leave for another day.
CALORIES: 186 per 35g bar, 10.4g Fat (in a 35g bar that is quite a lot) The recommended Guideline Daily Amount is 50g of fat.
E NUMBERS - Yes, Mars use plenty of these as raising agents. E341 (no known side effects), E500 (no known side effects in small quantities), E501 (no known side effects)
CHOCOLATE: 14% minimum milk solids, 25% minimum cocoa solids. Milk chocolate. They could have made it with dark chocolate which is healthier but they didn't.
SALT: Yes - this chocolate biscuit has salt in. They strangely put it in the ingredients box but not in the grid where it lists figures for Energy and Fat. It does not state how much salt per 100g.The ingredients are written in very tiny writing, in black and you can barely see it. I actually had to write off for this information, and they said it it was 0.05 (35g) after checking out their website www.marsnutrition.co.uk. There was no link to that site on the packet.
VITAMINS: No details written on the packet. I checked the marsnutrition site but no information was on there either.
PROTEIN: Yes, 7.2g per 100g
CARBS: 58.2g per 100g
KOSHER: Yes, it has a tiny KLBD Worldwide Kosher Certification mark.
GLUTEN FREE: No
TASTE: Yum 5/10. If it would be less like an ordinary bog standard biscuit and better crafted I would give it 7/10.
I recommend that you get a large Malteser Bag from One Stop for a £1, as there are often good deals there and you get a bigger bag which you can share your bag with more people. I found Teasers a waste of money.
THE ADVERT: Seems to be aimed at the young and SLIM white middle class market. Were there any people from ethnic minorities: No Were there any disabled people in the ad? No. Where there any people over 50? No. The chocolate bar looked so perfect in the ad, it hardly looked like mine!
GREEN STUFF/CARBON FOOTPRINT: The wrapper was non biodegradable so it would be a nuisance in the countryside but there was a tiny sign at the back to keep the country tidy. It is too tiny for people to pay attention to this. These marks were minute. There was a Recycle mark at the back and the wrapper was plastic.
STAFF CYCLE PARKING: No information at present, have written to them.
CAR SHARING POLICY: No information at present, have written to them
TerraCycle repurposes waste packaging from Mars Incorporated US into products ranging from cell phone holders and laptop sleeves to messenger bags.
Awards and Honors
The company was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013, citing the example that employees of the pet food division can take their dogs to work.
FAIRTRADE: 2011, Mars and Fairtrade International announced an agreement to introduce the first Fairtrade labeled Mars product and to work together to enable farmers to have sustainable livelihoods" (wiki) However, I couldn't see a Fairtrade mark on the packet. (I will be writing to them about this).
INDIVIDUALISM: It really felt like a mass product. It was uncreative and a kind of institutionalised chocolate wrapper, very staid and impersonal in today's times. It didn't look very attractive. You couldn't even see what the chocolate bar looked like from the wrapper, maybe because it doesn't look very appetising.
NOTES FOR REPUBLICAN BRITS: The Queen visited the factory in Slough in 2013
http://www.mars.com/uk/en/press-center/press-list/news-releases.aspx?SiteId=94&Id=4042 So there's a lot of royal fawning.
JUNK FOOD POLICY (source: maltesers.co.uk) "We have a Marketing Code that governs all our promotional activity and states that we only promote our products to people aged 12 and over as this is the age at which we believe that people can make informed choices about sensible snack consumption. Chocolate has a role to play as part of a balanced diet and healthy active lifestyle. An active lifestyle is all about balancing 'energy in' with 'energy out'. As a food manufacturer, we have a role to play in creating a healthier environment and promoting healthy, active lifestyles". (Hmmmmmm......!)
At least, I think it is a great thing that they are not promoting their products to young children. But I am one of these people who would prefer more advertising bans on such products to all.
NOTES FOR VEGETARIANS: "From May 1, 2007, many Mars products made in the UK became unsuitable for vegetarians. The company announced that it would be using whey made with animal rennet (material from a calf's stomach lining, and a byproduct of veal), instead of using rennet made by microorganisms, in products including Mars, Twix, Snickers,
Maltesers, Bounty, Minstrels and Milky Way.The response from many thousands of consumers, particularly the Vegetarian Society's request for UK vegetarians to register their protests with Mars, generated a lot of press, and caused the company to abandon these plans shortly thereafter".(wiki)
In 2008, the Metro said, "Mars faces a second backlash after it was found that three of its most popular products still contain an ingredient from calves’ stomachs.
Twix, Milky Way and Celebrations – among the top-selling chocolates in Britain – all contain animal rennet.
‘I’m sure there are vegetarians out there eating these products unaware they are unsuitable for vegetarians,’ a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society said.
But Mars said it had no plans to stop using rennet.
It insisted it had always been open about what its chocolate contained."
But the Vegetarian Society is trying to persuade Mars’s parent company, Masterfoods, to make all the bars suitable for non-meat eaters
On the Teasers packet, there is a very tiny yellow writing saying that it is suitable for vegetarians. The Vegetarian Society will be pleased (and so will the farm animals).
However, Mars do make Pedigree Chum, Chappie and Whiskas.
VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHOCOLATE EATERS: There was no braille on the wrapper
ALLEGATIONS OF PRICE FIXING: Recently, the BBC reported on 7 June 2013, that "Authorities in Canada have charged the food giants Nestle and Mars, together with a network of independent wholesale distributors, in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices of chocolates.
The Competition Bureau in the capital Ottawa said it has uncovered "evidence" suggesting price-fixing."
It is good to hear that there have been reports of several different prices in the UK. I will have more reports as I go round supermarkets and independent shops.
WOULD I EAT IT AGAIN? No, unless a friend gave me one.
UPDATE 18/6/13 A reply from Mars Consumer Services:
"Your comments regarding the size of the lettering on the packaging have been noted as have been your suggestions that we include braille on the packaging and make a dark chocolate version, although we have found that the demand fordark chocolate products is not as high in the UK as for our other chocolate products. . For ease of information the Teaser bar and all our chocolate products are listed on our website at
the ingredients and nutritional information are included here.
Regarding your questions about Fair Trade and the Low Pay Commission we share many of the values of the Fair Trade movement but we adopt a different approach. Mars is strongly committed to improving the lives of cocoa farmers and their families.
Our approach centres on helping farmers improve their incomes by protecting their crops from pests and diseases and by helping them to produce higher quality cocoa in turn ensuring that they receive higher prices for their cocoa. Our program also seeks to improve social conditions in cocoa-growing communities by creating opportunities for childhood education and farmer training.
At Mars we share the concerns many of our consumers have on this and other subjects. I would like to assure you that we take our responsibility to the cocoa farming families very seriously. Our privately owned company"s heritage is based on a genuine commitment to the communities that are touched by our business.
I'm afraid I cannot comment on whether our staff participate in Litter Picking for Keep Britain Tidy although some staff may volunteer or participate on an individual basis."