Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3 Musketeers Richer Chocolate Taste

3 Musketeers Richer Chocolate3 Musketeers bars were introduced in 1932; at the time the name of the bar made more sense back then, when it was three joined sections, each with a different flavored filling: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. The bar was later simplified in 1945 into three sections that were all chocolate flavored nougat. 3 Musketeers were one of the first candy bars advertised heavily on television. (They had a long-standing sponsorship with the Howdy Doody Show.)

The shape of the bar has also changed a bit along with the packaging, but the frothy soft filling and milk chocolate coating have pretty much remained the same. A couple of months ago Mars announced that one of their oldest bars was going to get an upgrade: Mars has reformulated the classic light and fluffy taste of 3 MUSKETEERS Bar to deliver a richer chocolate experience. Taste is the leading driver of sales for 3 MUSKETEERS Bar, and this new enhancement still satisfies as a lighter candy bar (45 percent less fat) while increasing the chocolate appeal among consumers.

3 Musketeers Richer Chocolate

Mars sent me a couple of preview bars, but I’ve already seen them on store shelves (Walgreen’s). I also picked up a classic formula bar for comparison. The new richer chocolate is on the left and the classic (still quite fresh) is on the right. The size and weight of the bars is identical, as is the nutritional panel. I also could not find any differences in the ingredients, which means that they made this a richer chocolate experience without altering the predominance of any item to the point that the label would need to be changed.

The filling is a nougat and is made of sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel and/or palm oil and then less than 2% of cocoa powder processed with alkali, salt, egg whites, artificial and natural flavors. So a smidge more cocoa that doesn’t exceed the amount of hydrogenated palm kernel oil and there’s no need to change the label ... unless it’s to sell consumers on the new richer chocolate experience.

The look of the bars on the outside is the same. The little swirls of the milk chocolate coating on the classic recipe were a little deeper, but that could simply be a difference attributed to a particular machine. When I bit into them though, I could see a difference in color. The new Richer Chocolate Taste does look a little more cocoa colored. The classic looks, well, colorless and a bit desaturated.

3 Musketeers Richer Chocolate

The bar feels light but still quite bulky. The scent is sweet but with a creamy cocoa note to it that’s quite inviting. The chocolate shell is okay, it’s not creamy or richly chocolate, more of a functional container for the foamy nougat inside. The center is soft and fluffy and I noticed that it wasn’t at all grainy. The nougat has a light salty note to it, not overly salty, just a different sort of tone from the chocolate coating. The cocoa flavor was so very light, but at least it wasn’t as throat-searingly sweet as I expected.

Upon comparing it to the classic formula, it is most definitely more chocolatey. But if I’d not tasted the original, I can’t say that this would turn me into a 3 Musketeers consumer.

The bar is quite big. Two ounces is a lot of candy, especially when it’s one that’s so monotonous. I got through half the bar but then had to put it down.

The candy bars are currently marketed to women and folks who are looking for lighter candy. It’s true that its caloric density is less than many other nutty and chocolatey-er candies. But it’s also bigger. So a full 3 Musketeers bar may have 45% less fat than “the average of the leading brands”, but that doesn’t take into account the portion size. In the end, calories are calories and this bar has 260 of them - more of them are empty, unsatisfying sugar that lacks a true chocolate punch with all of its fatty, melty notes. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky (well, getting old, I’ve always been cranky) but I’m starting to come around to the whole idea that fewer ingredients make for a better flavor and texture experience. Real chocolate has rich chocolate taste. You want a real chocolate taste experience? Have some real chocolate. It’s probably better for you than the empty calories and hopped up hydrogenated de-rainforesting palm oils.

If you love 3 Musketeers, chances are you’re going to be keen on the slight improvements here. But if you love chocolate, stick to real chocolate. I’d say half the portion of actual real chocolate is more fulfilling than this empty thing. But if you love texture, then maybe the tweaked bar is your new best friend forever.

Update 10/29/2012: According to Mars they’re going back to the original formula. So look for packages that don’t say “richer chocolate taste” for the classic version.

Related Candies

  1. Limited Edition 3 Musketeers Marshmallow
  2. Fling: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut
  3. 3 Musketeers Mini Mix
  4. 3 Musketeers Mint with Dark Chocolate
  5. Valerie Lemon Hazelnut Nougat

Name: 3 Musketeers
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: samples from Mars & 7-11
Price: $1.25
Size: 2.13 ounces
Calories per ounce: 122
Categories: Candy, Mars, Chocolate, Kosher, Nougat, 6-Tempting, United States, 7-11

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:09 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewMarsChocolateKosherNougat6-TemptingUnited States7-11

  1. it’s too bad they couldn’t get rid of the hydrogenated oils as they made improvements to taste.

    Comment by Rodzilla on 6/02/11 at 7:26 am #
  2. I once knew a guy who had worked at Mars’ Cleveland, TN plant who could positively ID unwrapped 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, and Snickers bars by the zig-zag in the coating on top.

    Did you review a sample of the new bar, or did you buy the reviewed bar?  Have you ever found a bad difference between a sample and purchased version of something?  I’ve been a reader of yours for a long time, and I’m still impressed at how carefully you do all of this.

    Comment by Dave on 6/02/11 at 7:51 am #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    Rodzilla - I would love to see them get rid of these tropical oils in the bars. At least they’re fully hydrogenated and not the partially hydrogenated versions.

    Dave - the reviewed & photographed richer chocolate is the sample. The purchased one was the classic flavor. I did consider buying the new one if Mars hadn’t sent it to me (I got two bars, actually, in my little bag of samples).

    As for difference between trade show samples & what we buy in stores, yeah, sometimes there are differences. I don’t like to review stuff unless I at least get the sample in the final packaging with the ingredients & nutritional panel. There have been a few times where the final product does change a bit and I have been left with egg on my face by jumping the gun (see this fiasco documented in the comments).

    Comment by Cybele on 6/02/11 at 2:53 pm #
  4. Oh, that was a good laugh.  I didn’t know about that.  You’re not the only one with some egg…it sounds as if you’ve still never gotten to review an actual customer-ready product.  I guess a 6 rating for what amounted to props isn’t too bad.

    Comment by Dave on 6/02/11 at 4:11 pm #
  5. I just tried my first “improved” 3 musketeers - wow did they ruin it.

    My nougat was much darker than your picture and the chocolate flavor was overwhelming.  I’m very disappointed. 

    And although I haven’t had one in a while I am/was a lifelong 3M fan.

    Bad move Mars.

    Comment by Lou on 2/17/12 at 12:58 pm #
  6. I have been a lifelong 3M fan for 60 years.  Always kept them in my home.  Ate one almost every day.  The new “improved” burned my mouth and tasted awful.  I actually threw them out after eating half of the first one. Haven’t been able to find the original 3M.  They could at least have still offered a choice. For the first time ever I have not bought another 3M bar since the new one was in all the stores.  I cannot imagine why in the world the original was changed. Very disapointed.

    Comment by Donna Frank on 3/13/12 at 12:26 pm #
  7. Thanks for confirming i’m not crazy Donna!!

    Comment by Lou on 3/13/12 at 12:55 pm #
  8. I am a chocolate addict and I love the new version.  I was never a big fan of the original and had not eaten one in many years.  I can’t get enough of these, they taste just like a Wendy’s chocolate frosty to me!

    Comment by Tim on 7/11/12 at 12:57 pm #
  9. Do not like the new version at all.. They ruined it for me, used to love them. :(

    Comment by Jen on 9/15/12 at 11:55 am #
  10. what the hell happened?
    That’s not 3 Musketeers Bar anymore.

    Might as well be eating any old chocolate
    bar now.

    It’s no good, too heavy on the chocolate taste

    Comment by Ken Wilson on 9/17/12 at 1:57 pm #
  11. i thought i read that they’re bringing back the old version???

    on sept 14th on facebook there was a post

    i know not to believe everything on the interwebs… but who makes up a candy bar hoax? wink

    Comment by lou on 9/17/12 at 2:34 pm #
  12. I called the factory and they are changing back to the original recipe.  Meanwhile, I’m hunting down all the new ones I can find…

    Comment by Tim on 9/18/12 at 7:26 am #
  13. i’m sure if there’s enough demand they’ll rebrand the chocolate version for you tim

    Comment by lou on 9/18/12 at 8:41 am #
  14. Can you still get the original Three Musketeers bar with the light chocolate center? I do not like the new darker, richer chocolate center.

    Comment by James Grosshart on 9/19/12 at 8:09 am #
  15. Yes, the original formula is back on the shelves.  Just make sure it doesn’t say “Richer Chocolate Taste” on the package.

    Comment by Tim on 9/19/12 at 1:42 pm #
  16. I agree with #5 and 6’s for sure. Same reaction to my mouth and the whipped nugget was the best part of the bar. I would strip the chocolate off the nugget and eat it last. I won’t buy another one. Thanks for screwing up the best candy bar out there.

    Comment by Judy on 11/02/12 at 12:33 pm #
  17. Cybele's avatar

    Judy - did you read the update note and the last comment? The original formula is returning to store shelves. Just keep an eye out for the packages that don’t have the little banner that says “Richer Chocolate Taste.”

    Comment by Cybele on 11/02/12 at 12:36 pm #
  18. Why did they mess with perfection?  I just accidentally grabbed a 3M candy bar that said “Richer Chocolate Taste” and I didn’t realize it was all chocolate.  Wow what a disappointment!  I won’t finish it.  Looking forward to the original and the best!  Thanks for all the updates!

    Comment by MissErica on 4/16/13 at 11:47 am #
  19. This is my favorit candy bar in the whole word i love its flavor

    Comment by Ashley on 3/26/14 at 10:38 am #
  20. 01Nov16
    I have looked far & wide and have found nothing but the “New and Ruined” Three Musketeers (3M) bars. The classic had a unique, smooth taste compared to most other candy bars. The new formulation (all chocolate) now makes it one of many less than mediocre candy bars. When I bought a reformulated 3M bar,expecting the classic, I spit it out and threw out the remainder. I love chocolate. When I want good chocolate I pick up a Dove Dark or a Lindt Dark bar.
    In Southern New England the classic 3M bar has not yet made a return as of November, 2016. Until and unless it does, I will refrain for buying any more 3M bars.

    Comment by CharlesD on 11/01/16 at 9:30 am #
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