Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: Mars is out of this world

Moreish bar is packed with sugar but is fabulous as a very occasional treat.
Mars bar - $1.29 for 53g. Photo / Supplied
Mars bar - $1.29 for 53g. Photo / Supplied

I know we should all be living on vegetables, lean meat, fresh air and clear water but sometimes, even someone as strict about natural foods as I am just needs a treat.

Mars bars have been around since 1932 and recently my husband has been making an annoyingly moreish slice which involves melting down Mars bars, adding rice bubbles and other things, then icing it with melted chocolate.

I take it into the office on deadline week as a way of bribing my staff to be nice to me, and slowly other teams in the building have been migrating over to our Mars bar table for a chat, thinly disguised as a chance to have a bit.

As I was consuming so much of it, I felt it best to investigate what actually goes into a Mars bar and to see whether I was in fact poisoning my staff. I was pleasantly surprised.

Mars bar - $1.29 for 53g

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first)


This is a sweet, chocolate treat so of course it is mostly sugar. You will get 30.6g of sugar per 53g bar, which is just over seven teaspoons.

Glucose syrup (sources include wheat)

This is a liquid form of sugar.

Milk solids

This is what is left of milk when you take the water out.

Vegetable fat

This will be a vegetable oil of some sort. This isn't too high in fat, at 9.1g per 53g bar, but 4.4g of it is saturated.

Cocoa butter

This is an essential ingredient in chocolate and is often replaced by cheaper oils, so nice that it is in here.

Cocoa mass

This is ground cocoa bean made into a paste.

Barley malt extract

This is a sweetener which is often used to flavour foods.

Cocoa powder

This will provide some of the chocolate flavour.

Emulsifier (soy lecithin)

This is a natural emulsifier.


Not a lot of salt in here at 76mg per 53g bar.

Egg white

Not sure why this is in here, but it's natural so I'm happy.

Natural flavour (vanilla extract)

Nice to see natural flavour used in this bar.

My recommendations

There isn't anything unnatural in it, but it is chock-full of sugar. Once a week is probably too much but not when I'm on deadline once a month.

Cut it in half or quarters for kids - they'll still enjoy the treat without overdoing it. If you need the recipe for the infamous slice, search on Google; there are many options on the web.


• Seven teaspoons of sugar per bar.

• No artificial ingredients.

• 1020kj or 243 calories.

- NZ Herald

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