Sunday, May 20, 2007

Life on Mars?

Vegetarians have won a small battle with Mars Incorporated, who were allegedly planning to include animal products in their popular snack bars, including the famous Mars Bar [BBC News, May 20th 2007].

All the vegetarians I know are proud of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and vegetarians are supposed to have a higher IQ. (See my earlier post Meat and Two Veg.) So I find it a little puzzling that vegetarians should have campaigned so strongly to be allowed to eat Mars Bars. However, chocolate and candy have always been enjoyed by people who have abjured other pleasures, such as meat and alcohol, and many of the great confectionery companies have historical associations with Quakers. (See Wikipedia: List of Quaker businesses.)

As a company, Mars (which trades in Europe under the name Masterfoods Europe) has a reputation for management expertise and secrecy. The effect of the original announcement and the swift reversal has been excellent PR for the brand. Snicker, Snicker, Snicker.


adam said...

your post seems to lack a point...
Why shouldn't vegetarians want to be able to continue to eat the chocolates they're used to? You're puzzled because you equate eating chocolate with a low IQ?

Richard Veryard said...

Of course vegetarians should be free to eat chocolate. Dark chocolate is supposed to be particularly good for health. Whereas Mars Bars contain more refined sugar and fats than chocolate. But then you're not eating steak, so perhaps the occasional Mars Bar isn't going to be to kill you.

I merely questioned why vegetarians had participated in a campaign which appears (perhaps with hindsight) to have produced greater benefits for Mars Incorporated than for vegetarians themselves.

adam said...

ah. perhaps more interestingly, all the accidentally vegan manufacturers could learn from mars and make press releases announcing a change in recipe, roll in the PR from the backlash, and then announce that they're sorry they considered switching?

i think the vegans had far more to lose if they just silently stopped eating mars bars.

Richard Veryard said...

Can vegans eat milk chocolate?