11 Oct
Nestlé Lion Bar - How It Became A Roaring Success!

Currently made by Nestlé, the Lion chocolate Bar dates back to 1976, the year of the infamous drought in the United Kingdom. It was originally made by Rowntree's Mackintosh, and in that very memorable year, the confectioner decided to launch two new manly chocolate bars, the other one being Yorkie. Both of them were advertised with a male audience in mind, and they both became popular and are still being produced today. 

Lion was invented by Eric Nicoli, who spotted a gap in the market for a chocolate bar that would appeal to men and boys.

Although the name of this chocolate bar is now simply Lion, here in the UK, at least, it is more commonly referred to as Lion Bar by the public, which was its original name in the 1970s and 80s. Its roaring lion emblem has become iconic and is recognised across the world. 

Although it has never been quite as popular as some of the leading chocolate bars made Cadbury and Mars, Nestlé Lion is a nice alternative choice when you're in the mood for a sweet and crunchy escape, and offers something a little different.

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Nestlé Lion Bar in wrapper and without wrapper, and Lion Bar White in wrapper. From 2023.


Lion was originally made at the Rowntree's Fawdon factory in Newcastle upon Tyne, from 1976 until 1988, before the company was taken over by Nestlé. Production then moved to Dijon in France, where it is still made today.

Ingredients That Make You Roar!

One of the reasons for the Lion Bar's enduring success is its unique blend of ingredients. Nestlé's dedication to quality and taste shines through in every bite. Here's what you can expect when you unwrap a Lion Bar:

Crispy Wafer: At its core, the Lion Bar features layers of crispy, crunchy wafer that provide a satisfying texture with each bite. The wafer gives the bar a pleasant contrast to the other components, adding a delightful crunch.

Caramel: Nestlé's caramel is creamy, luscious, and oozes out as you bite into the Lion Bar. It's the perfect sweet and sticky companion to the crispy wafer.

Milk Chocolate Coating: The entire bar is enveloped in a generous layer of smooth milk chocolate, which provides a rich and creamy finish. It perfectly balances the sweetness of the caramel and the crunchiness of the wafer.

Puffed Rice Cereal: Nestlé Lion Bar includes puffed rice grains (which are possibly Kellogg's Rice Krispies) within the caramel layer, enhancing the overall crunchiness and giving it an extra layer of texture.

The modern day Lion bar does not contain any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. All Lion products are made using 100% certified sustainable cocoa.

The full list of ingredients in a standard Lion Bar are; Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Sweetened Condensed Milk (Milk, Sugar), Cocoa Butter, Palm Oil, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Whey Powder (from Milk), Maltodextrin, Skimmed Milk Powder, Wheat Starch, Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Salt, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Caramelised Sugar, Natural Vanilla Flavouring, Thickener (Carrageenan).

Please note that this list of ingredients is subject to change. Always read the label before consuming.

2004 Recipe Change and Relaunch

In 2004, Nestle altered the recipe after conducting research, making it lighter and milkier with softer caramel and less wafer. They relaunched Lion Bar, in conjunction with the TV channel Animal Planet. However, sales fell by around 18% between 2004 and 2005, after the change, and there were rumours in 2007 that Lion Bar is to be scrapped. However, instead, Nestlé sold their Dijon factory to the Swiss-Belgian chocolatier Barry Callebaut AG and outsourced production to them.

Varieties and Innovations

Nestlé hasn't stopped at just the classic Lion Bar, they have introduced various limited-edition and regional variations over the years. These innovations have delighted fans with new and exciting flavour combinations. From white chocolate-covered Lion Bars to limited-edition flavours like espresso, coconut, black and white and peanut butter, Nestlé continues to surprise and delight consumers with fresh takes on this iconic chocolate treat.

In 2021, Nestlé introduced a Wild Peanut Lion Bar in the UK, making it more widely available during 2022.

Current Range

Currently, there are four milk chocolate bar variations, and these are the classic Lion Milk, Lion Milk Duo, Lion White and Lion Peanut.

Whether you're enjoying a classic Lion Bar or one of its innovative variations, you're sure to experience a roaring delight that lingers in your memory. 

TV Adverts

A TV ad campaign was launched in the UK during 2004, advertising Lion Bar as "Dangerously better". The amusing ad featured a man purchasing a Lion Bar from a vending machine. When he reaches in to pick up his bar, the machine grabs his hand and throws him around in a wild manner.

This TV advert is from 1982 and is advertising a 2 pence price reduction of Rowntree's Lion Bar from 15p down to 13p.

Lion Cereal

Lion breakfast cereal is marketed as "The king of cereal" and contains a tasty combination of caramel and chocolate pieces. A single serving provides 39% whole grain and is a source of fibre and nine vitamins and minerals. However, the sugar content is high with around 7.5 grams of glucose in each serving, which is equal to two teaspoons, so it's not an entirely healthy option. 

Ingredients: Whole Grain WHEAT (41.3%), WHEAT Flour, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Sweetened Condensed MILK, Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder (1.7%), Calcium Carbonate, Cocoa Mass, Salt, Natural Flavourings, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin, Caramelised Sugar Syrup, Iron, Vitamin B3, B5, D, B6, B1, B2, B9. For allergens, including cereals containing gluten, see ingredients in CAPITALS. Contains WHEAT and MILK. May also contain PEANUTS and other NUTS.

Lion Coconut

A new coconut Lion Bar was introduced in 2023 as a Limited Edition, which are available to buy in packs of 5.

  • Rowntree's Lion Bar wrapper from 1985, cream wuth brown and yellow banner and "Big Bite Value" text with a red background.

Rowntree's Lion Bar wrapper from 1985 with "Big Bite Value" slogan

Rowntree's Lion Bar Easter Egg in box from 1987

Rowntree's Lion Bar Easter egg from 1987

I hope you have enjoyed reading our essential facts about Lion bar. You may also like our post about The Sweet History of Rowntree's

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