Masterfoods, the producers of household names such as Mars, Snickers and Malteasers, have announced that genetically modified animal ingredients are used in its chocolate snacks.
The company said the move was in response to a privately commissioned study which showed that consumers' enjoyment was enhanced and they purchased more units when a particular genetically modified beef protein was added to the chocolate.
Vegetarians, vegans and Hindus were reported to be up in arms at the announcement which suggested the confectionery company added the animal products without their knowledge.
Masterfoods are known to be developing new ways to retain current consumers during a time when its traditional customer base is becoming increasingly aware of the need to eat healthily and more responsibly.
A spokesperson for the company said: "What's the problem? Our chocolate is healthier than ever now we've added GM animal ingredients. We understand the public's concern however we need freedom to shape our future and we need more profit to remain free.
"There's only a little bit of animal in our chocolate so if you're only a little bit vegetarian you'll still be able to enjoy the great taste of our snacks but if you're one of those no leather, gluten free vegans then you better buy a muesli bar."
Further investigation has shown other animal ingredients in Masterfoods' products may include calves stomach lining (Mars and Snickers), goose intestine (tomato soup), powdered badger and otter spleen (organic pasta sauce), extract of duck pituitary (squeezable cheese) and concentrated bull semen (Boost).