Mars enters performance nutrition with Snickers Hi Protein Bars

Dive Brief:

  • Mars is entering performance nutrition with Snickers Hi Protein bars, the company said in a statement.
  • The bar has the same chocolate, caramel and peanut ingredients as the iconic Snickers, but 20 grams of protein and four grams of sugar. A traditional Snickers at roughly the same weight has 28 grams of sugar and four grams of protein.
  • The new bar is the latest in a series of products introduced by CPG companies that have functional attributes and provide a better-for-you aura for consumers looking to eat healthier.

Dive Insight:

Mars is taking the “Snickers really satisfies” motto to a new level with the debut of its new nutrition bar.

While Snickers, similar to other confections, is looked upon as an indulgence, the new offering swaps the sugar for protein and pledges to maintain the same flavor as the original offering.

“After talking with many consumers through the product development process, it was clear that the performance nutrition category was missing one key ingredient — delicious tasting products,” Michelle Deignan, senior brand director at Mars Wrigley, said in a statement.

Unlike its regular Snickers bar, targeted as a treat to the average consumer, Mars is targeting Hi Protein to extreme athletes or those interested in exercising, as well as individuals looking for a snack with more protein.

The new product also provides additional occasions for consuming a Snickers bar. A person who previously only ate a Snickers as a treat now could incorporate the protein-rich item into their exercise regimen. It also expands Snickers’ reputation to be more than a candy bar and helps differentiate it from its competitors.

A survey from the International Food Information Council in 2021 found the top three reasons for eating protein were to have a balanced diet; to satisfy hunger throughout the day; and to build muscle health/strength. The new Snickers Hi Protein could play conceivably in all three of these categories.

Food and beverage makers increasingly are bringing their offerings into the functional food realm by providing extra benefits beyond just alleviating hunger or thirst.

Sodas such as Poppi are loaded with prebiotics designed to help gut health. Competitor Olipop incorporates plant-based fiber, prebiotics and other botanical ingredients to help the body’s microbiome and promote well-being. Yogurt giant Danone has products that prioritize major attributes, including Oikos with high protein or Activia with probiotics. Even PepsiCo has gotten into the space with a functional water called Driftwell aimed at combating stress and inducing relaxation.