Masterfoods puts bars in portion-control packs

Masterfoods is launching new packaging for its king-size countline products in an effort to address concerns over portion control in confectionery. It is the first innovation the company has launched aimed at addressing the obesity issue.

The new packaging will be launched on the Mars and Snickers Big Ones in the first quarter of next year. It will enable consumers to break the bars in half without taking them out of the packaging. It is designed to encourage consumers to save half of the bar for later, or until the next day.

To use the packaging, consumers have to turn the bar upside down and snap it in half by grabbing each end of the bar. This means that both halves will retain packaging, allowing one half to be stored. The new packs will have diagrams to explain how to use them, and are expected to receive significant marketing supporting, including television advertising.

Industry insiders describe the innovation as a gimmick, but expect it to create a buzz among consumers. One insider says there has been a lot of talk about developing chocolate products that consumers can “eat now and eat later”, but that this is the first real example.

Rival Cadbury Trebor Bassett moved to address the portion issue earlier in the year with the launch of 17.5g bars of two Dairy Milk variants and Bourneville. The bars have fewer than 99 calories each, but retailers have complained that they do not offer good value for money (MW June 2).

Strict laws to prevent ambush marketing bring the concept of sponsorship into “disrepute”, according to one of Europe’s leading sponsorship bodies.

The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) also criticises the recent trend of making ambush marketing a criminal offence and says anti-ambush legislation has a detrimental effect on official sponsors.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has previously spoken out against anti-ambush laws being drawn up to prevent guerrilla activity at the 2012 Olympics in London (MW August 25).

Last month, the Government hinted that it would relax the Olympics Bill and water down its proposed controls on advertising during the games after the IPA labelled the bill “severely restricting”.

The ESA says in a report that ambush marketing should be a civil offence – as is now proposed for the London Olympics – rather than a criminal offence as it was for the 2003 Cricket World Cup and Euro 2004 football tournament. The Italian government is also reportedly planning to introduce legislation to criminalise ambush marketing at next year’s Winter Olympics in Turin.

The report says: “The ESA is concerned that anti-ambush laws and practices have in some circumstances brought the concept of sponsorship into disrepute. Over-zealous application has led to embarrassing negative publicity for the event, the nation and the sponsors.”

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