Mars Goodness Knows bars - blueberry & almond

Mars Chocolate is making a major move into healthier snacking with its first new UK brand in two decades.

Called Goodness Knows, the snack is a 34g fruit and nut bar with rolled oats and a dark chocolate base. It comes as four separate squares, each offering no more than 40 calories, with the aim of satisfying the increasing number of consumers who were “snacking throughout the day”, said Mars marketing manager Rebecca Shepheard-Walwyn.

Rolling out from mid-August with no Mars branding, Goodness Knows will be backed by a £4.6m spend beginning with a branded website, followed by OOH from mid August and a TV ad in the autumn. It will be available as a 34g single (rsp: 90p) and multipack (rsp: £1.99/3x34g) in three variants: cranberry & almond, blueberry & almond, and apple, peanut & almond.

In a first for a Mars brand, 10% of profits will go to charity via the Goodness Knows Fund. Small charities across the UK will be able to apply for a grant of up to £10,000. “We want to do little bits of good,” said Shepheard-Walwyn.

The result of about 18 months’ development, the NPD is based on the Goodness Knows brand in the US, launched in October 2015. However, the bar had “significantly changed” for the UK market, Shepheard-Walwyn said. Mars had considered importing from the US, but decided “it was key we worked on a recipe right for the UK”.

Mars has invested in a multimillion-pound, 20-week refit of a Tracker production line in Slough to make the new bars. However, no new manufacturing jobs have been created.

Goodness Knows is the first new Mars brand for the UK since Celebrations in 1997. “Brands are at the heart of what we do, but it’s really, really rare that we launch a new one,” said Shepheard-Walwyn.