What Happened to Kudos Bars? The Fate of the “Healthy” Candy Bar

One of humankind’s greatest wishes is for a healthy candy bar. Well, the folks at Mars once tried to make that dream come true when they rolled out the legendary Kudos Bar in 1986. Marketed as a nutritious granola snack with a robust candy flavor and a thick chocolate coating, the product was wildly successful throughout the ‘90s. But what the heck happened to these wonder bars? Sadly, like the dinosaurs, Kudos Bars are a thing of the past. But, unlike dinosaurs, there are no plans to resurrect them. So, what happened? Let’s explore the snack’s rich (and if you had a chance to taste them, you know I do mean rich) history, shall we? 

What are Kudos granola bars?

Originally available in three flavors (Nutty Fudge, Chocolate Chip, and Peanut Butter), Kudos’ bars were basically chocolate covered granola bars. They fit right in with the other sweet snacks masquerading as health foods such as SnackWells. After a brief hiatus in the early aughts, Kudos was reintroduced in 2011 with an updated appearance: The classic milk chocolate coating on the bars was removed and replaced with a chocolate base and chocolate drizzle on top. Kudos’ updated design made it appear more like a granola bar than a candy bar, in an effort to boost the appearance of a healthy snack. 

Did Kudos bars have M&Ms?

Oh, absolutely! Along with the flagship trio of Nutty Fudge, Chocolate Chip, and Peanut Butter, Kudos also collaborated with brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Dove Milk Chocolate to create “granola bars” that were definitely not “candy bars.”

Why were Kudos bars discontinued?

In a fateful 2017 Facebook response to an unhappy customer who was complaining that they couldn’t find Kudos anywhere, the Mars company stated that Kudos were officially discontinued. The company never offered a formal statement explaining why they took Kudos off the market. Some speculate that it was simply the end of an era and people weren’t falling for the old healthy candy bar trick anymore. One Reddit user firmly put the blame on “your mom.” 

So, though it’s unfortunate that these heralded snacks are no longer available to us consumers, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they weren’t quite so healthy anyways. And, if you really want to get a sense of what a Kudos bar was like, simply dip a Nature Valley bar into a vat of melted chocolate and say to yourself, “My my my, what nutritious decisions I’m making!” All jokes aside, just enjoy a candy bar with pride! No need to put on airs! We’re with you!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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