Saturday, June 2, 2012

The King Is Dead!

Bad news from Mars: Earthlings are a bunch of fatties.  Mars, the candy company that makes delicious treats like M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers, Twix, and countless other delights, somehow came to the conclusion that it should take responsibility for Americans' bad eating habits.  The first step down this dreadful path started five years ago, when Mars committed to marketing its products more responsibly.

In 2007, this meant that Mars wouldn't advertise on any TV programs where more than a quarter of the audience was expected to be under the age of twelve.  This didn't faze me in the least; I couldn't care less when--or if--candy commercials show up on TV.  With my fancy VCR machine, I fast forward right through those commericals anyway.  But now Mars has gone too far...

An impressive menu with a bleak future...

Just after Valentine's Day this year, Mars announced that it's making an effort to improve the health profile of its chocolate products.  I rarely eat candy bars, but I'm not happy about this at all. Chocolate products aren't even supposed to have a health profile, let a alone an improved health profile. This concept simply defies the laws of nature.  By the end of 2013, Mars will no longer produce any chocolate product that contains more than 250 calories.  One of the casualties in this senseless war is an American legend--the King Size Snickers bar:

Stock up while you can--there are only nineteen glorious months remaining before this 540-calorie titan is laid to rest.  Even the standard-issue Snickers bar takes a hit with Mars' new initiative, shrinking in size to cut a few calories from its normal 280 total.  I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the midst of all this discontinuing and size-changing, Mars will be taking a semi-invisible price increase.  As the size goes down, the price either won't budge, or it will decrease by a lesser amount than the's the oldest trick in the food manufacturer playbook.

But according to Mars, it's all about portion control.  Some spokesman spouted off this useless tidbit: "Mars chocolate products should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle."  It's no secret that a lot of people eat too much, but there's just one little problem in Mars' strategy: what prevents people from buying two of the smaller bars?

As I pondered this question, I came across an article that explained what's replacing the outbound king.  And, believe it or not, Mars is actually making it easier to buy two slightly smaller bars.  I'm glad this thing doesn't have the word "King" anywhere on the packaging, because it's certainly not worthy of royal status:

This is the new Snickers 2toGo candy bar, and inside the wrapper sit two 220-calorie bars.  To encourage portion control, the package is resealable so candy lovers can save one for later.  My bold prediction: witnessing someone reseal the package on the 2toGo will be as frequent an occurrence as watching the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.  The act of opening a candy bar wrapper, eating everything inside, and throwing away the wrapper is far to ingrained in the subconscious of America to end here.

What you're looking at above is a new version of the king that's a pale reflection of his former self.  I suppose Mars is technically correct--people will eat that second bar's just that in this case, later means immediately after the first bar.

Whether Mars' new health kick is nothing more than a price increase in disguise or it's motivated by genuine concern about America's collective waistline, the shrinking candy bar is cause for alarm.  When the current plan doesn't work, the only option is to continue shrinking the bar.  Decades from now, the "King Size" bar will be what is today known as the "Fun Size" bar.  (For the record, I've never understood what's fun about a bar that's gone in one bite and does nothing but taunt and tease my taste buds.)  And, of course, this future bar will have a tiny, resealable wrapper to encourage portion control.

The fat children of the future will have to visit the Smithsonian to see an exhibit on the giant King Size Snickers of the good old days.  So, like a said before, load your pantry with the real King Size Snickers while it's still around, because the clock is ticking.  And while you're at it, load up on shares of Hershey's stock.  Once Mars puts this ill-fated plan into action, the American people will vote with their wallets, and I'm predicting a landslide victory for a new leader in the chocolate kingdom:

For the sad eulogy of the King Size Snickers, check out these links:

1 comment:

  1. ...gone in one bight...You meant byte! Burn :P