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Is Mars snickering at us?

Yet another downsizing of food portions.

Unlike most companies that silently sneak the change like thieves in the night, Mars came up with a pr campaign touting the change as good for us. The story started on the local news that Mars is healthing up. Those candy bars will now be under 250. But not to worry ... no change to the recipes ... the bars will just be smaller.

Mars is listening to us about our health concerns and giving us what we asked for. Mars cares.

Seriously, how many times do big corporations have to take something away from us and then really believe they can put a positive spin on it and all is well.

The sad thing is that the news team thought it was a great idea. So I guess we are as stupid as Mars thinks.

Personally, if i want a smaller portion, I'll buy a bag of bite-sized snickers. I'm not laughing.

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  1. "The sad thing is that the news team thought it was a great idea."

    That's one sad point...the other being that the prices will remain the same, even though there's less product. Not surprised.

    1. Price of raw materials is up, up, up. A silly way to put a positive spin on downsizing, but understandable. That's why Hostess is suffering, passing on increases in ingredient costs to consumers will drop sales.

      1. They should just raise the price, not shrink the candy. Yet another thing down the line we'll all be saying "Well back in my day..."

        3 Replies
        1. re: LongIslandChef

          The problem is that there's a threshold they can't cross. Price it too high and sales will drop, keep the price level and shrink the size, sales may drop initially but they'll bounce back.

          1. re: ferret

            Yes that's true, but I just wonder if a person will still feel "satisfied" after eating these new smaller candybars.
            If not, that could REALLY end up cutting into thier business.

            1. re: ferret

              To a point.

              Take it to its inevitable conclusion, and you end up with this converstaion:

              "Ummm, there are only 4 M&M's in this "Large" bag."

              "Yes, but the price is the same $1 it has been for years. Mars understands that consumers have limited discretionary income and we make every effort to hold prices steady in the face of rising costs of raw materials. We're certain our customers appreciate our efforts and we look forward to providing them with the same high-quality product they have come to know and enjoy."

          2. Seventy percent of all water bottles do not get recycled and wind up in landfills. As a result, bottlers have had to make these *annoying* half-height little bottle caps to help lessen any ill effects on the environment. They've also made their bottles feel like your drinking out of thin plastic bags ... of course, for the same reason. I guess we have to become more responsible as individuals so that companies don't take the liberty of blaming us for their money-saving and (sometimes) quality-cutting ways. In the case of Mars here, of course "portion control" and "calorie count" surfaced as deciding factors ... afterall, Americans are obese. So, as a result, Mars decides to be proactive and shrink their candies !!! Brilliant !!! THEY at Mars, all rejoice because America's waistlines are expected to benefit tremendously, and (coincidentally) so are the figures in the Mars bottom line. Come on Mars, please stop kidding us. We all know you're only interested in your bottom line... and nobody here's gonna stop at just one little candy bar. So I guess Mars, you've succeeded.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cheese Boy

              Well, maybe they can also get a government subsidy for contributing to decreasing health care costs.

            2. Why is this a bad thing?

              This rant against Mars seems like taking the general rant of "they've downsized my favorite product without screaming it from the top of their lungs" meme to new heights of absurdity.

              The general "they've downsized without telling me" rant as applied to certain products (e.g. canned tuna) ALMOST has some poignancy to it because people purportedly use one standard size can for recipes. I suppose since we all flunked basic grade school math and cannot do fractions to save our lives, downsizing in that instance would probably be somewhat of an inconvenience as in "Darn it. My old recipe for tuna salad says use one 6 oz canned tuna, and now all the tuna cans are only 5 oz. What to do?? What to do?? My family will now forever be deprived of my famous tuna salad!"

              But this?

              This is simply either raising prices or decreasing the size of a candy bar -- depending on which side of the coin you like to look at -- without any real, life-altering effect.

              Where's the harm in that?

              No one is seriously going to say, "Fuck! I can't make my favorite Snickers bar salad anymore because my old recipe called for eight 2 oz bars, and now the new bars are only 1.8 oz each! Curses!"

              And if the original 2 oz bar is now only 1.8 oz, will a person really notice the difference and say, "Gosh, that just wasn't very satisfying. For some reason I have this incredible urge to rip open a new bar and take just one more bite! All in the name of making sure I get a full 2 oz of chocolate bar goodness!"

              And as far as the "Mars is just the big corporation out to make money" argument goes, it's stupid, tired, and just idiotic. Yes, it's trying to make money. What did you expect? That's what companies do. And let's not forget that because Mars does make money -- and continues to do so -- it can hire and employ tens of thousands of people. You know, that thing called "employment"? Which is usually a good thing.

              Sigh.

              22 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                >>> people purportedly use one standard size can for recipes. I suppose since we all flunked basic grade school math and cannot do fractions to save our lives, downsizing in that instance would probably be somewhat of an inconvenience as in "Darn it. My old recipe for tuna salad says use one 6 oz canned tuna, and now all the tuna cans are only 5 oz

                Well, ONE problem with that is when the can size decreases without notice, people just grab what was once a 6oz can and don't notice the difference.

                Another is exactly where do you do the math? Are you supposed to buy a second can and add one ounce? Then what to do, what to do with the leftoer four ounces? What if you just don;t want another tuna thing except for one damn tuna sandwich? Throw the rest out? Force yourself to choke down the rest?

                Or, say it is tuna salad ... and there is 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons mayo, 1/3 cup chopped celery ... so ... let's see there were six ounces so I decrease all those by 1/6th. Easy peasy, eh?

                Oh .. btw ... google 'snickers recipe' and you will get over two million results. Many of those recipes call for one Snickers bar ... not one xx oz Snickers bar ... so to LOTS of people it is going to matter. ..

                >>> This is simply either raising prices or decreasing the size of a candy bar -- depending on which side of the coin you like to look at -- without any real, life-altering effect.

                Where's the harm in that?

                The harm is that I no longer trust this company and as much as I like Snickers ... you know ... it is crap chocolate and I won't buy it again.

                Raise the price or cut the size, but don't feed me a line of bullshit that you are looking out for my health and welfare.

                When the little geniuses in corporate get together on how to screw over people and make it seem like a favor, most people see the disingenuousness of it.

                i would have been happier if they just said they were reducing the size because things got expensive. I would have even appluaded that. Hooray ... a company not only letting us know of a change but being honest about it.

                Even better ... raise the price. Be bold. Recognize the quality of your product if you think it is there and that loyal customers will just pay the increase. For this type of chocolate, it is not like when I want a Snickers bar and see it is 10 cents more than a Hersey bar that I will buy that instead. When I want a Snickers bar, I want a Snickers bar ... not something a few cents cheaper.

                >>> That's what companies do. And let's not forget that because Mars does make money -- and continues to do so -- it can hire and employ tens of thousands of people. You know, that thing called "employment"? Which is usually a good thing

                CynIcally ROTFLMAO.

                Let's not straw man this.

                Did I complain the price was more?

                As I said, I would even applaud calling attention to the size decrease

                But please ... don't wrap it in a lie that it is because it is healttier

                1. re: rworange

                  If one can't figure out how to make a tuna salad with an oz. less of tuna, one has bigger problems.
                  Same with the candy bar recipes.
                  It's about packaging a snack food to have fewer calories. If someone wants to grab one candy bar, it still satisfies, but is a tad smaller, fewer calories. big deal.
                  As for buying a bag of minis if one wants just a smaller candy bar, yeah, good luck with that. Not everyone has the will power to buy a bag and have just one or two.
                  And why would I ever *expect* Mars CANDY BAR company to give me something other than good old junk food? I would never expect a Snickers bar to be "healthy." It is what it is.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    Some people just don't get it, right wyogal?

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        There are more cookie recipes than salad recipes using Snickers and it does make a difference. Whatever.

                        I worked for a pet food company that got taken over by Mars, and despite all their promises, the changes that resulted were disgraceful. Not only the size of the bags becoming smaller, but the ingredients.....did you know peas counted for protein, rather than meat. I don't hate them or anything, despite the fact that they sort of forced everyone out of their old jobs (just business, I understand) but I don't trust them either. I'm making more and more from scratch these days.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          I believe I was the one who first brought up tuna as an example of items where a size change makes a difference (as opposed to, say, a jar of mayonnaise or a box of cereal), and the issue was never one of "how do I make it now?" but rather that a six-ounce can was just enough for two tuna salad sandwiches and five ounces (nearly a 17% reduction) is not. How do you deal with that? I don't care to have insidious tuna canners decide how big my sandwiches should be.

                          1. re: BobB

                            add celery and a hard boiled egg to one can, or make it with two.

                            1. re: wyogal

                              Sure, I can stuff it with fillers, but then it's not the way I like MY tuna salad.

                              And before we get too carried away - no, this is not something I'm losing any sleep over, but yes, it is a true annoyance.

                            2. re: BobB

                              How about using one 5oz can and one 7oz Costco can, and make 4 sandwiches? And some tuna, packing olive oil, comes in 3oz sizes, enough for one sandwich.

                              In a sense, anytime we insist on using packaged, processed foods, we are at the mercy of the packager.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Thank you paulj. A voice of reason.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  How is it reasonable to be forced to make four sandwiches when you only want two? I have considered the 3 oz cans (I only use Italian tuna in oil, so that is an option), but they cost almost as much as the 5 oz.

                                    1. re: BobB

                                      Maybe 5 ounces is perfect for others. Maybe in 20 years a generation will be complaining that they changed from 5 ounces to 6.

                                2. re: BobB

                                  I have a big problem with the 30z mayo, since I use their jars to freeze home made broth. Now when a recipe calls for a quart, I have to splash some plain water in their, or have soup that is too thick. I know they don't care, but it still is a reminder every time I pick up a jar of those 2 missing ounces.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    The real problem is that manufacturers don't coordinate the size changes. Changing tuna cans from 6oz to 5 wouldn't be such a big deal if the bakers changed the cross section of their loaves by the same amount. Think of the mess if they reduced the number of hot dogs in a package without also changing the number of buns.

                                    Maybe this coordination thing is behind the Mars change. It's easier to drop the size of a candy bar by a few percent than to raise the price in a vending machine by the same amount. '$1.03' just doesn't cut it as a vending machine price.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Isn't it 8 hot dogs vs 6 buns currently? Guess it's been awhile for me. 6 hot dogs and 6 buns would make too much sense.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        I think that was his point. It's a joke.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          Went over my head, for some reason. I always save the extra two for emergency garlic bread anyway.

                                        2. re: coll

                                          Yes and nobody would be upset that the hotdog pack size was switched from 8 to 6 (end sarcastic tone). You cant please everyone - except those that enjoy complaining.