Back in 1783, we kicked the King of England to the curb, and ever since – from Hugh Grant to Adele – the Brits have been sneaking back in. Now, Mars is plotting the next big British invasion on American candy racks: The company announced that UK sweets staple Maltesers will be available in American stores nationwide starting in January 2017.
For those who haven’t spent much time in the checkout aisle of a Sainsbury Local, Maltesers are milk chocolate balls “with a honeycombed centre” that have a look, taste and ingredient list very similar to Hershey’s Whoppers. Though the candy has been available in the UK since way back in 1937, it’s only recently entered the US market, starting at some movie theater concession stands last month. But Mars has much bigger plans for a rollout in grocery, drug and convenience stores around the US.
Despite being an American who has lived in the UK for many months, I couldn’t recall having tried Maltesers, so I decided to duck out to my local Spar, grab a pack, and see what all of the fuss was about. I also grabbed some lottery tickets because I’m pretty sure leaving a Spar without scratchers or booze is forbidden by the Queen.
Indeed, Maltesers could easily be confused for America’s “original malted milk balls,” Whoppers, in a blind taste test. If I was forced to determine a difference from memory (it’s been awhile since I’ve had Whoppers), I’d say that the milk chocolate coating on Maltesers seemed a bit sweeter and creamier than on Hershey’s offering. I vaguely recall Whoppers center being a bit denser as well. No knock on the British version, but I feel like I enjoyed Whoppers more than my Maltesers taste test.
Regardless of my opinion, however, Mars clearly thinks it’s time to have a go at Hershey’s in this department. For US consumers, I guess it will just come down to that old question, “Do you really love America?”