Candy bar makers slim down to grow

New Year’s resolutions at Mars, Inc. are no laughing matter. The maker of Snickers and Twix candy bars is powering ahead on plans to nix sales of chocolate products that contain more than 250 calories by the end of 2013.

The 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar will be gone from the supermarket candy aisle; bags of two or four smaller bars will take its place. Regular Snickers will be 11% smaller, but Twix bars and packs of M&Ms, which meet the 250-calorie limit, will stay the same.

The company’s calorie cutback rounds out an agreement with Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America. Mars joins a group of 16 manufacturers that have committed to slashing 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015 through lower-calorie offerings and smaller portions. The group includes competitors Kraft Foods (which owns Cadbury chocolates), Nestlé USA (which makes Baby Ruth, Chunky, and more), and The Hershey Company.

Hershey has already downsized. In early February it launched new varieties of Almond Joy and Hershey’s Special Dark bars, as well as York Peppermint Patty. Similar to Reese’s Pieces, the candies are recreated in packs of pop-in-the-mouth portions.

Almost all candy makers offer bags of individually wrapped fun-size chocolates. What’s new is the candy makers’ battle to woo consumers into buying more of less of their product sold on its own. Mars and Hershey’s, and others who follow, are likely to boost their fan base among consumers who are watching their weight or needing to curb their kids’ sugar fix.

Sylvia Lambert

Sylvia Lambert covers a slew of industries. She has been a writer and editor at Hoover's since 2009. Her former published work includes Herbs: Growing & Using the Plants of Romance, a 1999 Benjamin Franklin Award winner for agriculture and gardening, and Along the Garden Path.

Read more articles by Sylvia Lambert.


  1. Catherine Colbert Catherine Colbert says:

    Let’s hear it for portion control! :-)

  2. Rebecca Mallett Rebecca Mallett says:

    The smaller portion, lower calorie sweets may also help candy makers cut input costs. Prior to agreements with Partnerships for a Healthier America, many candy makers had already considered making smaller candies, simply to reduce the amount of cocoa ingredients needed. Cocoa prices soared in 2011. This down-sizing trend may help candy makers save money and improve their image.

  3. Ppl 20 years ago ate normal sized portions and never had issues. ppl are just lazy to do any physical work

  4. Agreed Tina!!! Not only is that a fact, but people are allowing themselves to be dictated to by these ‘elitists’ that think they know better. apparently we are incapable for thinking about our diet ourselves. This current action has allowed the food processors to reduce the size of their items, reduce packaging, reduce the cost of transportation per item, yet the price of this “more responsible” portion is exactly the same or maybe higher than is larger predecessor. Gee, thank you again to the federal government and the other busy bodies that have nothing better to do than watch over the citizens of this “once greater” nation. For allowing this and other intrusions into our daily decision making we the people should be ashamed of ourselves. It is not up to government to police our diet or our habits. We all need to take personally the accountability for our actions and not be so eager to blame someone else for our own faults and short comings. GROW UP AMERICA.

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