August 24th: Twix Fino

Kcal 94 Fat 4.4g Carbs 12.3g (per finger)

STOP PRESS! Hold the back pages!! Mars UK have actually launched their first proper innovation since the Mars Delight which we first saw way back in 2004 (no the Galaxy Bubbles doesn't count!!) Last week I finally managed to lay hands on the Twix Fino, which was announced to the trade a while back in June 2010 (See HERE). Described by a Mars spokesperson as a "healthier wafer option", the Fino is aiming to "help expand the appeal of the brand to female professionals looking for a lighter snack" - supposedly taking on the likes of the Kit Kat Senses and the Kinder Bueno. To me this all sounded remarkably similar to the blurb that accompanied the launch of the aforementioned Galaxy product earlier this year. Have Mars forgotten about the male population who eat chocolate!? I'll let you discuss that one!

The Twix Fino comes in a 38.0g double finger packet and will be retailing for £0.52 in smaller independent stores before rolled out nationally in the supermarkets in 2011. Nutritionally the bar is relatively impressive, clocking in with significantly fewer calories than the Kinder Bueno (242 Kcal) and Mars Delight (222 Kcal), whilst being around about par with the likes of the Galaxy Bubbles (169 Kcal) and Kit Kat Senses (165 Kcal). Presentation wise I was also relatively impressed as the wrapper maintained a sense of Twix masculinity despite the target consumer obviously being females. The chocolate fingers themselves also looked pretty appetising with the caramel and wafer layers nicely segregated and balanced in terms of their portioning. Taking the fingers out of their silver foil packet confines, they broke apart with relative ease. The smells emanating from the bars weren't the strongest, though the mild hints of caramel and chocolate had a certain Mars familiarity about them.

On the wrapper the Fino was described 'crisp wafer with caramel, covered in milk chocolate' with the breakdown as follows: wafer (22%), caramel (21%) and chocolate (46%). Starting with the chief constituent, the outer milk chocolate layer was of course the first to be encountered what with it comprising the exterior portion of the bar. Compared to a usual Twix the chocolate wasn't quite as thick in it's portioning, especially at the base where I was expecting the usual thicker underside. Despite the thinness of the chocolate it still did pretty much the same job I expected it to, as the other elements of the bar were also notably lighter. The chocolate was totally as I expected - unspectacular in taste, yet more than adequate at providing a sweet chocolatey flavour hit to every bite. The caramel at the top of the bar also seemed somewhat lighter in portioning, but it again still delivered a familiar set of buttery sweet sugar flavours within it's soft chewy texture. The USP of this Fino bar was of course the substitution of the usual shortbread biscuit base for the folded wafer layers which you can see clearly in my photo above. Taste wise the folded wafer layers reminded me of a sparser version of the wafers used in the Mars Delight, yet without the note of honeycomb forthcoming in the rather plain tasting wheat based flavours. After a few mouthfuls it was more than noticeable that the wafers weren't massively contributing to the taste, but on the plus side they weren't negating the pleasant combination of the caramel and chocolate constituents. The total bar left my hunger feeling relatively settled, though unsurprisingly I didn't feel the same level of satisfaction that I get from a normal Twix.

Overall it was a little tricky scoring this Twix Fino as it came across taste wise as being a bit of Twix 'Lite', but looking at all the PR hype it wasn't if anything other than this was ever being promised. Quite simply the synergy between the wafer and chocolate/caramel layers wasn't as strong as the shortbread biscuit and chocolate/caramel combination of the normal Twix bar. Whilst the wafer layers were positively non-distracting in the grand scheme things, they also failed to add much to the total experience apart from of course the expected contrasting crunchy crisp textures. Taste wise they couldn't hold a candle to the usual biscuit base, though I guess that is what you would have to expect from a bar containing 100 or so less calories. Personally speaking if you offered me the calorie vs. taste trade-off, I would reach for gold foil original Twix bar every time with little or no thought. I don't want to send Mars UK straight back in to their non-innovation shells by bashing this Twix Fino too much, but I personally can't see it hanging around our shelves for too long given how established many of the other alternative offerings are already in this 'lighter choices' sector. You all know how much I value all your opinions so please feel free to share your thoughts about the product proposition, or better yet how you think it actually tastes. After all I'm hardly target market - who knows this could really strike a cord with 'female professionals'.

7.7 out of 10

*** COMPETITION*** If you Retweet this review today in your Twitter feed you automatically enter yourself in a competition to win one of three Twix Fino bars - winners announced this weekend!