As of this time, there are three known species; the original Milky Way® candy bar, the Milky Way® Dark, and Milky Way® Lite. Throughout the analysis we will refer to these as Classic, Dark and Lite respectively.
After partaking in a Rural-Family Substance Consumption Ritual, the search for the missing candy bars was taken up again. It was decided that a local supermarket would be the most likely place to acquire all the remaining research materials. I was quite shocked to find that the only species available was the revered King-Size Milky Way® of the Classic variety. Wanting to compare the vending machine variety candy bars, I left the supermarket after first double checking to make sure they truly did not have the Dark or Classic bars.
A trip to a near by discount store allowed me to purchase the Classic bar; cost $0.25, considerably less than the Lite bar purchased earlier. Again, there was no sign of the Dark bar, nor did they carry the Lite bar. After searching several other stores, a last ditch effort brought us to a convenience store. There, I found the Dark bar; cost $0.52.
With all the research subjects in our possession, a date was selected to do the actual lab tests and comparisons. A Friday lunch hour was sacrificed in order to conduct the research.
Here are the physical statistics of each of the bars as taken directly off of their respective wrappers.
|Net Weight (oz/g)||2.15 / 61||1.76 / 49.9||1.57 / 44.5|
|Calories/Fat cals||280 / 100||220 / 70||170 / 50|
|Total Fat (% DV)||11 g (17%)||8 g (13%)||5 g (8%)|
|Sat Fat (% DV)||5 g (27%)||4 g (22%)||2.5 g (13%)|
So, one of the things that make the Lite bar lite is that it is smaller. In fact, it is only 73% the size of the Classic bar. The calories in the Lite bar are 60.7% of those in the Classic. Obviously, not all the savings in calories are due to the size differences. The most marked difference is the fat grams. The Lite bar has only 45.5% of the fat grams as the Classic bar. Using the Classic bar as the standard, here is a look at how the candy bars compare.
|Calories/Fat cals||100% / 100%||78.6% / 70%||60.7% / 50%|
The savings in calories and fat look impressive. So, what did Mars, Inc. do to the Lite bar to make it lite? Moving beyond the obvious size difference, we looked at the ingredients of each of the bars. The Classic bar and the Lite bar match more closely than the Dark bar does to the other two. Cross-referencing all the ingredients on the package, of the 20 ingredients in the Classic bar, and the 21 ingredients in the Lite bar, 17 of them are shared. The order of some of the ingredients is different, thus suggesting that there are different amounts of those items in each of the products.
The differences are worth noting. In the Classic bar, there are three ingredients not used in the Lite bar.
The replacement items in the Lite bar are as follows.
The last item in the Lite bar surprised us. We could see, however, how using skim milk instead of milk would lower the calorie and fat counts. As to what role the polydextrose and fructose play, we have no clue.
Now, let us factor price into all of this. We will compare both the actual purchase price and an adjusted price. The adjusted price will be $0.50 each, as if they were all purchased from the same vending machine.
|Actual||Adjusted||Actual||Adjusted||Actual / Adjusted|
|Cost per pound||$1.86||$3.72||$4.73||$4.55||$5.10|
|Ratio of cost||0.5||1.0||1.27||1.22||1.37|
From the above data, we concluded the Classic bar to be the best deal. You get more for less. To see how the various candy bars compared in taste and satisfaction, we conducted a taste test.
There were 11 tasters, both male and female ranging in age from 51 to two. Here is what they had to say.
|M||Good.||Texture similar to C&L but less chewy and chocolatey.||Texture and taste very similar to the Classic bar. A little less sweet and chewy than the Classic.|
|F||Delicious, more chocolatley.||Don't usually like dark chocolate, but this is okay. Just a little bitter, but not bad.||Different texture than the Classic, more gum like.|
|F||Creamy, light, just right.||Can not taste anything but the chocolate. Too sweet.||This is thicker, and sticks to the roof of your mouth.|
|M||Strong caramel, subtle nougat flavor.||Very chocolatey. Fruity/cherry flavor in nougat.||Less chocolatey. More nougaty.|
|M||I like the milk chocolate. Very fluffy.||The dark chocolate overwhelms the nougat, I can't taste much but the dark chocolate.||More dense. Caramel is darker, stickier. Nougat is sticky as well. Milk chocolate flavor not as strong.|
|F||Very chocolatey, and full flavored.||Sweet and fruity.||Much denser and chewier, not as sweet.|
|M||Chocolatey. Strong nougat flavor. Smooth, fluffy texture.||Nice dark chocolate flavor, though a bit sweet. Hard to detect nougat flavor, but fluffy, soft texture was evident.||Much less chocolate flavor than the Classic bar. Sticky, not as fluffy.|
|F||Milk chocolatey. Fluffy, sweet.||Dark, very chewy and sugary.||Less sweet than Classic. Less fluffy, more chewy. Sticks to the roof of my mouth.|
|M||Heavy, chewy, leaves stuff in your teeth.||Like the dark, good hearty dark chocolate flavor.||Softer, not as much "bite" to it as the Classic. Still full flavored.|
|F||...||I like this one.||...|
|F||Mmmmwaa mmm mammmwhaa...||Mnnna naaannamma mmwaamm...||Mnaanmmmnaanmm ammmnnnammnn...|
After the taste test, the tasters were shown the comparison of size, price, calories and fat of the three test subjects. Most were surprised to find the Classic bar so much bigger than the Lite, and the Dark to be smaller than the Classic, but larger than the Lite. Before the calorie and fat differences were know, most tasters said they would stick with the Classic bar. However, after revealing the nutrition differences, several of the female tasters said they would be willing to give up the Classic bar, and pay the extra price per ounce that the Lite cost to save that much in the calorie and fat departments.
When the male tasters were asked their opinion, it was summed up by one tasters comment. "I'd just eat half the Classic bar, and save the rest for the next day." Most male tasters were unwilling to give up the Classic bar for the Lite version. Later in the day, one female taster reported that the amount of sugar in the three pieces she ate was sufficient to irritate a sensitive tooth she had, which resulted in a headache. It was latter agreed that all the candy bars were, indeed very sweet.
One final note worth mentioning. Both the Classic and Dark bars wrapper have a Guarantee of Quality and Freshness statement on them. The Lite bar wrapper had no such statement on it.
Thanks to Dean Thompson for dragging his family in to participate in the taste test section of the research project. We needed the diversity. Dean also brought the toothpicks several tasters used to handle the sticky, chocolatey messes they were tasting.
Thanks to the many tasters who were latched onto as they passed the lab where the research was taking place. Without warning, they were railroaded into participation on a research project that got quite a few strange looks as people walked by.
This page was inspired by the Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torch page. Take a look, you'll have a good time.