Giant snacks – meant for two, eaten by one

Andrew Martin chooses the smaller bar – and no sharing

Related Topics

The coalition has gone for a voluntary rather than a regulatory approach to portion size, so food manufacturers can now boast about how they are inflicting fewer of their unhealthiest products on us. Accordingly, it was announced last week that Mars will magnanimously reduce the size of Mars bars, in order to lower the calorie content without changing the actual taste of a Mars, which I like.

I eat at least one Mars bar a week, but I have never eaten a Mars Duo: that, is, two Mars bars in one pack, and I wonder whether Mars would agree to reduce the Mars Duo by a factor of 50 per cent, this coming full circle back to one Mars bar. And will it evict that sinister interloper, the third Twix finger, from that dietary and linguistic anomaly, the Twix Xtra? And will Cadbury consider removing the "and a half" from its extra-long bar-and-a-half of Dairy Milk ?

All these moves would bring closure to a nightmare of greed and gigantism that has negated all those homilies of my childhood, such as: "I hope you're not going to eat all of that", or "Now, save some of that for later", or "You'll be sharing that around, I assume".

Apparently, the defence for the Mars Duo and other freaks is that "they are made for sharing". But when was the last time anyone asked you, "Would you like half of my Mars Duo because if I eat it all myself, I'm going to be sick?"

People do not purchase confectionery by committee. I can just about imagine someone buying a Mars Duo, thinking, "I'll give the other half to X when I get back home" ... but as to whether that other half would still be in their pocket, as opposed to their stomach, by the time they stepped through the front door ... that is another matter entirely.

I say remove the temptation. When it comes to chocolate, and crisps, more is less. Incidentally, regarding crisps, Walkers defends its introduction of the charmingly named, and extra large, Grab Bag (50g as against the standard size of 35g) by saying that most of its bags of crisps are sold in 25g packs. But these come in multi-packs, so what appears to be fewer crisps is in fact more crisps.

At the risk of sounding pious, I will mention that my favourite snack as a boy in the Seventies was a two-finger Kit-Kat, and I used to be fascinated by the way that these were made in a bigger building in the Rowntree factory at York (town of my birth) than that which produced the four-finger version. Then again, two-finger Kit-Kats where everywhere in those days, whereas I hardly ever seem to see them now ... only, perhaps, in dusty sweet shops run by tremulous old ladies who still offer two ounces of Midget Gems instead of a quarter pound.

There is a sweet shop in a seaside town I know whose proprietor superficially fits that bill: she is old, tremulous, and she hasn't gone metric, but she is modern enough to refuse to serve two ounces of Midget Gems even if the alternative is that I won't buy any at all. She is determined to break down what remains of the Protestant self-denial that used to inform our approach to food.

So it is with the bar tenders who serve me a medium glass of wine (175ml) when I ask for a "small" (which is, officially, 125ml) ... and the sellers of popcorn in cinemas. A decade ago the annoying sound of someone munching their way through a carton of popcorn would stop a quarter of the way through the film because they had run out of popcorn, but now that the stuff is served in dustbins, they're still at it when the credits roll.

The idea of "meal times" now seems impossibly genteel. A continuum of eating has been established in this country, and it's going to take more than "a voluntary approach" to turn back the clock.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions