Mars attacks! Chocolate giant tells chippie deep-fried bars are just too unhealthy

Manufacturer disowns Scottish delicacy and demands a disclaimer

When Forrest Mars formulated his nougat-and-caramel chocolate bar at a factory in depression-hit Slough, he could scarcely have anticipated that 60 years later an enterprising Scottish fish-shop owner would dip his famous confection in batter before plunging it into sizzling fat.

The Stonehaven deep-fried Mars bar became an international phenomenon in the 1990s and rapidly joined Scotland's culinary pantheon alongside haggis, the Arbroath smokie and Irn-Bru – even if it did horrify public-health officials grappling with a population suffering some of the worst obesity rates in the developed world.

But now, 20 years since chocolate first met chip fryer, the global food brand has written to the humble Scottish chippie that transformed its flagship product, asking it to publish a disclaimer at the bottom of its menu distancing the company from the snack. The Carron Fish Bar, which counts the £1.30 fried treat as one of its biggest attractions, selling up to 150 a week, has been told that the "recipe" contradicts Mars's commitment to healthy eating – a move that was signalled in 2010 when it cut the saturated fat content of the eponymous bar by 15 per cent, reducing it to 260 calories a time.

"Deep frying our Mars bar product, of course, counters this significantly," the letter said. "To avoid any consumer confusion in this respect, we would be grateful if you would insert a small disclaimer at the bottom of any menus you may have and a sign on display at your shop stating as follows: 'Mars is a registered trade mark of Mars Incorporated. Our use of Mars is not authorised or endorsed by Mars Incorporated.'"

The Carron Fish Bar's owner, Lorraine Watson, said she was shocked at the move, which followed her inquiries about registering the deep-fried Mars bar under the EU's Protected Food Name Scheme – an accolade afforded to specialities such as Parma ham and Champagne.

"I was amazed when I got the lawyer's letter because I really feel they are giving me a slap on the wrist when I haven't tried to offend them," Ms Watson said. "We have been selling this deep-fried Mars product for 20 years and this is the first time we have heard from Mars. Have I really offended them that much? I think it's sad that it's come to this."

Ms Watson has since abandoned the idea of securing protected status, deciding it would involve too much paperwork. The manager, Doug Craig, who has been frying Mars bars for the past five years, said the recipe remained unchanged since it was first invented by local schoolchildren in 1992. The bar is chilled to prevent melting and dipped in flour before being coated in batter and fried until golden brown. A study published in The Lancet in 2004 surveyed 300 Scottish chippies and found that 22 per cent sold deep-fried Mars bars while a further 17 per cent had done so recently.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
film
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager - Commercial Cable & Wire - UK

    £60,000 - £75,000: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the major Aer...

    ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes