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.”
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.
ConfectioneryNews.com 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.
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.