June 6th: Snickers Marathon Smart Stuff Bars

Thank heavens for AmericanSoda!!! Without these guys there would be no way I would be able to keep you lot up to date with all the latest chocolate and candy products coming out in America. The chaps over @Americansoda have just updated their store with some of the newest offerings from Mars, Hershey and Reeses and Nestle (See HERE). Among all the new and exciting products you will see that Mars have developed a brand of bars called 'Smart Stuff' - a sub-brand that they have released under the Snickers/Marathon brand name.

The range consists of several variants of cereal bases bars - three of which I got to try over the last week. Clocking in at 34.9g each and promising no more than 140 calories a bar, these looked to me to be positioned as energy boosting, pro-active lifestyle health bars. What led me to believe this was the on-pack blurb displayed on all three flavours, as each brought attention to the bars packing '8 essential vitamins & minerals', as well as them not containing 'high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or artificial flavours or colours'. This sounded all well and dandy to me but trust me I've had plenty of so called 'healthy cereal bars' in my time. I was more interested in putting them to the taste test.

Kcal 140 Fat 4.0g Fat(sats) 1.5g Carbs 22.0g (per bar)

The smell of honey and caramel was very strong here and this was consistent with the taste test that followed. The base layer of chocolate was thin but it was substantial enough to create and impression on the cereal and peanut elements above. Out of all three bars the caramel that fused the cereal together was much thicker and this obviously meant it had a grander say in the total taste. Ultimately this was very very sweet with it's buttery focused caramel flavours, though the saltiness of the peanuts did stem the sugar focus to a reasonable degree. It wasn't the most satisfying out of the three however it was still a good cereal bar in my opinion.

7.7 out of 10

Kcal 140 Fat 4.5g Fat(sats) 1.5g Carbs 21.0g (per bar)

This was my least favoured out of the three though that's not saying much as I've rated them all quiet highly. This particular variant was basically the Honey Graham described above, however it didn't have the extra honey and caramel emphasis in the sticky stuff binding the cereal. What was noticeable here was that because there was less emphasis from the caramel, an additional extra hint of cinnamon shone through. Personally I didn't think it played off as well with the peanuts and it was somewhat disruptive to the sweet and salty flavour contrasts as it heavily sent the bar down the sweeter route. 

7.5 out of 10

Kcal 140 Fat 4.0g Fat(sats) 1.5g Carbs 22.0g (per bar)

In true JCM style I saved the best until last :-D It will probably come as no shock to anyone that the 'chocolate review site' rated the double chocolate variant the best, but I did go in to this comparison review with an open mind and it was frankly just the way it was. The 'double chocolate' proposition lived up to the billing and simply delivered a taste that had a much stronger, more satisfying chocolatey flavour hit. The chocolate taste was sweet and uncomplicated in it's construction of cocoa flavours but I could of cared less because it played off rather nicely with the binding caramel and salty peanuts. I certainly found it the most fulfilling of the three. 

8.1 out of 10

Overall I think Mars can be happy with their cereal bar offerings here and I like the fact they are something altogether completely different to what we have seen from them previously. Mars in the US are a little more adventurous with their new products than Mars UK and it was clever of them to use the Snickers brand to quickly bring a level of familiarity and credibility to the bars straight away. Ask me for a favoured variant and I will point you in the direction of the Chocolate Crisp though the other two are also worth checking out with them being close 2nd/3rd's. Take the health giving credentials with a pinch of salt but there are three nice bars at hand here  I would happily suggest any of them.