Deep-fried Mars bars disowned by chocolate firm
- 5 September 2012
- From the section NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland
Chocolate manufacturing giant Mars has distanced itself from the famous deep-fried Mars bar by seeking a disclaimer.
The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, in Aberdeenshire, claims to be the birthplace of the recipe almost two decades ago.
Plans to bid for EU protected geographical status were dropped.
Mars has written to the owners saying the product is not authorised or endorsed as it does not fit the company's promotion of healthy living.
A menu disclaimer is being sought, to make people aware deep-frying is not what the company has in mind for its product.
A Mars spokesperson said: "We are really flattered that customers of Carron Fish Bar like our product so much that it has now become a flagship product for the store.
"No application for a protected geographical indication has been filed to date.
"Should an application be filed, unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to support it as deep-frying one of our products would go against our commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles."
Lorraine Watson from the Carron Fish Bar told BBC Scotland she had written to Mars to say she was happy to put up a "disclaimer" notice in the shop.
Mark Cruickshank, a senior solicitor with Brodies intellectual property department, told BBC Scotland: "I suspect Mars is concerned that the deep-frying of its products is not in line with its policy of promoting a healthy lifestyle and it is keen to take steps to protect its own brand."
He said Mars would have been aware that they should not be "too heavy-handed" and risk a backlash against their product in Scotland.
Mr Cruickshank said: "In the letter they have asked for a disclaimer to be put on the menu and on the fish shop wall.
"It seems that Mrs Watson is happy to do that and it seems the parties have reached a good compromise here."
The deep-fried Mars bar has become synonymous with negative aspects of the Scottish diet since it was first reported in the Daily Record in 1995.
The newspaper called the phenomenon, with its links to Stonehaven, "Scotland's craziest takeaway" and said "sweet-toothed youngsters are ordering their favourite choc bars deep-fried in batter".
By 2004, the reputation of the deep-fried Mars bar had travelled the Atlantic and it was mentioned on the Jay Leno Show in the US.
Later that year, UK medical magazine The Lancet published research from two Glasgow-based public health experts who thought the craze could be an urban myth as they had never met anyone who had eaten one.
They surveyed hundreds of fish and chip shops in Scotland to find out if "the delicacy" was available and if people were actually buying them.
It found 66 shops which sold them, 22% of those who had answered the survey.