Mars have not only introduced the Mars Caramel to offer something new to the consumer, they are (apparently) committed to slimming down the calorie count of their range in order to tackle the obesity problem. I imagine the real reason is to cut costs, and I would think Mars have cut the production cost of this chocolate bar in a huge way when you see the size of it!
The standard Mars bar contains 242 calories and is still available alongside the new Limited Edition bar. The Mars Caramel bar contains just 204 calories, though this is understandable due to the shrinking of the size, as opposed to anything Mars have done to make it healthier. There is talk that this new chocolate bar could replace the original Mars bar, though I cannot imagine this would be a good idea as a lot of people I know are not too keen on the new product.
The new Mars Caramel is obviously different from the traditional Mars bar. The first thing you notice is the packaging. The mainly black wrapper is kept, alongside the red text of 'Mars'. The words 'Limited Edition' and 'Caramel' are added to the front of the wrapper, as well as a splash of caramel colour (light brown/orange). to the bottom edge of the wrapper the words '100% Mars caramel' can be seen, though this could have been positioned better on the wrapper in my opinion.
Once you have got past the changes to the wrapper, you are left disappointed when you realise how much the chocolate bar itself has changed. As soon as I picked the bar up I realised it had shrunk in size. The bar is much thinner, though the loss of nougat is the reason for this. I expected Mars to have replaced all the nougat for caramel, though this isn't the case.
To the rear of the wrapper you are given details such as nutritional information and an ingredients list. This chocolate bar has 40% milk chocolate and 60% soft caramel centre, so it really is a caramel chocolate bar.
Other than the obvious reduction in size of the chocolate bar, the texture and appearance of the Mars Caramel is very much like the original Mars bar. The new bar is probably slightly thicker than a normal chocolate bar, so it isn't as substantial as I would have liked, but I knew that if it tasted good then I wouldn't mind about this, after all, I had only paid £1 for 4 bars.
The Mars Caramel bar looks appetising and has a very sweet smell of chocolate and caramel to it. Once I bit into the bar I noticed the different texture inside the bar, and I had soon bitten off a piece of the bar. The distinct Mars chocolate taste is still present, and I were nearly fooled that this was a normal Mars bar, just slightly thinner. Unfortunately the lack of nougat means that the chewy centre is missing, though the caramel still has some bite to it. I think the caramel is quite sickly though, and this product effectively has the same ingredients as a Cadbury Caramel bar, though it doesn't taste anywhere near as good.
The caramel does have a soft and chewy texture to it, though it isn't a patch on similar chocolate bars in my opinion. I find the bar quite sickly, and I am actually glad that they shrunk the size of the chocolate bar due to this. The caramel isn't as sticky as I imagined though, so it doesn't stick to my teeth, and the texture of the caramel is certainly a positive. One positive I can find about the Mars Caramel is that although the chocolate layer is quite thick, the caramel content is also very generous, so if you like caramel then this product would be worth a try.
Price and availability
Although this is a Limited Edition chocolate bar I were still surprised when I noticed they are available for around 60p for a single bar. I paid £1 in my local supermarket for a pack of four bars, and this is by far the cheapest way of trying this product.
Although I do enjoy the original Mars bar I am not as enthusiastic about the Mars Caramel. I do hope they don't replace the Mars bar with this new product, and I imagine this won't be the case anyway as it doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the Mars bar. Although the size of the bar has shrunk I still think this is a substantial chocolate bar, and as the caramel is quite sweet I don't think a larger bar would be a good idea as it would be too sickly to manage it all in one go. At the price of £1 for 4 bars I think this is a great value for money, though 60p+ each would be too high a price individually in my opinion. In future I will continue to buy this chocolate bar whilst it is still on offer, though when this 'Limited Edition' product disappears I will be happy to return to the original and best - the Mars Bar.