Mars has decided to discontinue its fruit and nut snack bar Goodness Knows from the UK market 18 months since its release. After its success in the US, and a generous funding of £4.6million into its launch, why was the brand unable to capture the British market?

The first challenge Mars had was its association with indulgence, being a key player in chocolate in the UK.  Mars’ popularity across the country with its range of chocolates meant that consumers naturally associated the Mars branding with indulgence, and it has been difficult to convince consumers that Goodness Knows was different.

This links into the second challenge; in the UK, there are established fruit, nut and cereal snacking bar brands, such as Nakd, with similar flavor options already available. Nakd sorely focuses on products which it brands as ‘whole food’ and ‘healthy’. Its cereal bars are sold at a similar price and weight. It has been difficult for Mars to convince British consumers to choose Goodness Knows bars over other brands which have already gained a solid ground in the healthier snacking segment.

The final points are packaging and product format; Goodness Knows bars came in an individual wrapper containing four individual squares or in a multi-pack featuring four wrappers per box. Consumers who are likely to consume snack bars are busy people who may feel the need to snack multiple times a day due to lack of time for full meals. Bars, therefore, become an ideal format because they allow one-hand consumption while on-the-go, or while working. By splitting this into four squares, convenience is naturally reduced as it is no longer consumable with one hand, as well as the packaging making it difficult to store the remaining squares once opened.

Moreover, other similar snacks bars convey healthiness through the use of see-through windows in the packaging (for consumers to see what the product looks like) or by clearly displaying, for example, the use of “real” ingredients or nutritional value highlights.

Goodness Knows bars, on the other hand, kept packaging simple by only displaying that they featured protein with no GMO. The branding emphasised its use of real fruits and nuts, with 19% chocolate, containing only 140 calories but these were not clearly conveyed to the consumers, so opportunities to attract consumers’ attention were lost.

As a result, Goodness Knows underperformed. This however, does not mean Mars will not succeed in healthy snacking in the UK. In November 2017, Mars took a stake in Kind bars; a nut based snack bar brand that is already established in the UK. Following the investment, Kind remained independent and led by its founder, Daniel Lubetzky, but this partnership will strengthen Mars’ aim to grow in the healthy snacking.

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