Are Mars Bars Gluten-Free? – Healthy Tips 2024

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The Mars bar is a popular chocolate bar manufactured by Mars Incorporated. There are two varieties of the Mars bar. 

In the UK and the rest of the world, the Mars bar is a chocolate bar with nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate. This candy bar is sold as the Milky Way bar in the USA.

If you’re celiac with a sweet tooth, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to enjoy your favorite Mars chocolate bar. 

So, are Mars bars gluten-free? No, Mars bars aren’t gluten-free. Mars bars contain barley malt extract, which contains gluten and isn’t safe for people with celiac disease. Mars Incorporated labels major allergens clearly if they are present in the products and provides safety statements if there’s a risk of cross-contamination. 

Read on to find out more about Mars chocolate bars. This article will tell you who makes Mars bars and what ingredients are used to make this candy bar. 

What are Mars Bars?

The Mars bar is a popular chocolate candy bar. The name is used for two varieties of chocolate bars produced by Mars Incorporated.

An American version of the Mars candy bars was produced with nougat and toasted almonds coated in milk chocolate. Later, caramel was also added to the recipe. 

In the rest of the world, a Mars bar is a chocolate bar with nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate. This type of candy is sold as the Milky Way bar in the USA.

The American version of the Mars bar was discontinued in 2002 to be relaunched in 2010 and discontinued again in 2011. 

Ethel M, a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, relaunched the Mars bar again in 2016. This version doesn’t have caramel and is the “original American recipe.”

The UK version of the Mars bar is imported to the USA and can be found in grocery stores that sell imported goods. 

Who makes Mars Bars?

Mars, Incorporated manufactures the Mars bar. Mars is a multinational manufacturer of pet food, confectionery, and other food products and is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

In 1932, Forrest Mars Sr, the son of the American candy maker Frank C. Mars made the first-ever Mars bar in Slough, England. Forrest’s chocolate candy was made based on his father’s Milky Way bar, which was already popular in the US.

The original Mars bar and the proportions of the main ingredients have changed over the years. The version of the original bar, with minor variations, is sold worldwide, except in the USA.

In the United States, Ethel M, the gourmet chocolate subsidiary of Mars Incorporated, started making the American version of a Mars bar in 2016. The “original American recipe” doesn’t have caramel and can be bought online. 

What are the Ingredients in Mars Bars?

One of the best ways to determine whether a product contains gluten is to check the ingredient label. Mars Incorporated doesn’t label any of its products gluten-free. Still, the company labels all major allergens, including gluten, clearly if they are in the product. 

Ingredients in the Mars bar can change, so it’s always a good idea to check the ingredient list before making a purchase. 

The following ingredients are used to make Mars bars:

  • Sugar
  • Glucose syrup
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cocoa mass
  • Sunflower oil
  • Milk fat
  • Lactose
  • Whey powder (from milk)
  • Palm fat
  • Fat reduced cocoa
  • Barley malt extract
  • Emulsifier (soy lecithin)
  • Salt
  • Egg white powder
  • Milk protein
  • Natural vanilla extract
  • Milk chocolate contains milk solids of 14% minimum (milk chocolate contains vegetable fats in addition to cocoa butter)

One Mars bar (51g) contains:

  • Calories: 230
  • Total fat: 8.6g
    • Saturated fat: 4.2g
    • Trans fats: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Potassium: 0mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 35.3g
    • Dietary fiber: 0g
    • Sugars: 30.5g
  • Protein: 2.2g

Are Mars Bars Gluten-Free?

Mars bars aren’t gluten-free, as they contain barley malt extract. Barley malt extract is used to enhance the flavor of certain foods and chocolates.

Barley malt extract is used in small quantities, and many products made with it contain 20 ppm of gluten or less. However, Mars bars aren’t labeled as gluten-free, and even a small amount of barley malt extract may cause an adverse reaction in someone with celiac disease. 

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, steer clear of Mars bars and look for certified gluten-free chocolate candy. 

Are Mars Bars Dairy-Free?

Mars bars aren’t dairy-free as they contain milk. This candy is covered in milk chocolate and contains milk protein and whey powder from milk. 

Don’t eat Mars chocolate bars if you’re lactose intolerant, or avoid dairy products for another reason. 

Are Mars Bars Vegan?

No, Mars bars aren’t vegan. Mars bars contain milk, which is an animal product that has no place in the vegan diet.

These chocolate bars also contain palm fat, which is a controversial ingredient in vegan circles. Although palm fat is technically vegan, the production of palm fat has a devastating effect on the environment and many different animal species. 


The Mars bar chocolate candy is a favorite among all generations, from children to seniors. However, people following a gluten-free diet can’t enjoy Mars bars as they contain barley malt extract. 

While only a small amount of barley malt extract is used in the manufacturing process, people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can still get “Glutened” after eating a Mars bar. To avoid this from happening, always check the ingredient label for hidden gluten. 

Instead of a Mars bar, look for a certified gluten-free chocolate bar you can safely enjoy. 

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