Mars is back in the headlines in the UK, and it has nothing to do with space exploration but a squabble over deep frying.
The Week reports that only a week after the Mars food company appeared to disown the notorious Scottish habit of deep-frying Mars bars, the company has been forced to come out in support of the questionable delicacy.
Earlier this month, lawyers for the confectionery giant sent a letter to the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, where the bar was first deep-fried around 20 years ago, insisting on an amendment to their menu notifying customers the product was not authorized or endorsed” by Mars.
The letter claimed deep-frying the chocolate bar was against Mars’ marketing code, which is aimed at promoting a “healthy, active lifestyle”. The company has recently reduced the saturated fat content in the chocolate bar, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Mars issued the command after learning Lorraine Watson, who runs ‘the birthplace of the deep fried Mars bar’, was considering applying for secured status for their famous dessert under the European Union’s Protected Food Names scheme.
The legislation aims to protect brands whose distinctiveness comes from their geographical production, like champagne or camembert.
Mars attracted ridicule for its stance, but today Fiona Dawson, president of Mars Chocolate UK, performed a remarkable reverse ferret, saying of the deep-fried delicacy: “We are very proud of our association in Scotland although I haven't had one myself”.
Dawson insisted Mars doesn’t object to deep frying the chocolate bar: “It's not at all that we weren't happy with it... anything that supports local businesses, local industry and frankly ingenuity has got to be celebrated.”
“This was simply an issue around a patent of origin – it's a complicated area of intellectual property.”
Mrs Watson, who says she sells around 150 deep-fried Mars bars a week, added the disclaimer to her menu, but said her customers consider it “ridiculous”.
After looking into applying for special status, the extra hassle and paperwork made Watson realise, “it would never be a viable thing for us to do”.
She added: “All she [Dawson] had to do was pick up the phone to me in the first place and we could have sorted this out... We are very proud of the deep-fried Mars bar and I'm glad that the company are too.”