Mars is an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food,
and other food products and a provider of animal care services, with
US$33 billion in annual sales in 2015, and is ranked as the 6th
largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes.
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, United States, the company is
entirely owned by the Mars family. Mars operates in six business
segments around the world: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Chicago,
Illinois), Chocolate (Hackettstown, New Jersey; to be integrated with
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and based in
Chicago, Illinois from 2017),
Petcare (Brussels, Belgium,
Poncitlán and Jalisco, Mexico), Food
(Rancho Dominguez, California), Drinks (West Chester, Pennsylvania),
and Symbioscience (Germantown, Maryland), the company's life sciences
1.1 Mars Food UK Limited
1.1.1 Mars Drinks UK
1.2 Recent history
1.2.1 Mars Petcare
3 Consumer relations
3.1 Opposition to labeling of genetically engineered ingredients in
3.2 Removal of artificial ingredients to food portfolio
5.1 Original products
5.1.1 Products manufactured by The Wrigley Company
5.2 Products for pet consumption
5.3 Discontinued product lines
7 Awards and honors
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Mars is a company known for the confectionery items that it
creates, such as Mars bars, Milky Way bars, M&M's, Skittles,
Snickers, and Twix. They also produce non-confectionery snacks, such
as Combos, and other foods, including
Uncle Ben's Rice and pasta sauce
brand Dolmio, as well as pet foods, such as Pedigree, Whiskas, Nutro
Royal Canin brands.
Orbit gum is among the most popular brands, managed by the Mars
subsidiary brand Wrigley. During World War II, Wrigley was selling
their eponymous gum only to soldiers, while Orbit was sold to the
public. Though abandoned shortly after the war, about 30 years later
Orbit made a comeback in America during the chewing gum craze.
Franklin Clarence Mars, whose mother taught him to hand dip candy,
sold candy by age 19. He started the Mars
Candy Factory in 1911
with Ethel V. Mars, his second wife, in Tacoma, Washington. This
factory produced and sold fresh candy wholesale, but ultimately
the venture failed because there was a better established
business, Brown & Haley, also operating in Tacoma. By 1920,
Mars had returned to his home state, Minnesota, where the earliest
incarnation of the present day Mars company was founded that year as
Mar-O-Bar Co., in Minneapolis and later incorporated there as
Mars, Incorporated. Forrest Mars, Sr., son of Frank and his first
wife, Veronica, was inspired by a popular type of milkshake in
1923, to introduce the Milky Way bar, advertised as a "chocolate
malted milk in a candy bar", which became the best-selling candy
bar. In 1929, Frank moved the company to Bakersfield, California
and started full production in a plant which still exists today.
In 1930, Frank Mars created the
Snickers bar and first sold it in US
markets. In 1932, Mars introduced the 3 Musketeers bar. The same
year, Forrest started Mars Limited in the
United Kingdom and launched
the Mars bar.
Mars is still a family business owned by the Mars family. The company
is famous for its secrecy. A 1993 Washington Post Magazine article was
a rare raising of the veil, as the reporter was able to see the "M"s
being applied to the M&M's, something that "no out-sider had ever
before been invited to observe." In 1999, for example, the company
did not acknowledge that
Forrest Mars, Sr.
Forrest Mars, Sr. had died or that he had
worked for the company.
The company published its Principles in Action communication in
September 2011. This communication outlines the history of Mars, its
legacy as a business committed to its Five Principles, and the
company’s goal of putting its Principles into action to make a
difference to people and the planet through performance. Encompassing
themes of Health and Nutrition, Supply Chain, Operations, Products,
and Working at Mars, the Principles in Action communication outlines
Mars Incorporated’s targets, progress, and ongoing challenges. It
also describes its businesses, including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley,
Food, Drinks, Symbioscience.
Mars, Incorporated has developed a reputation across its leading
markets to be an excellent training ground for managers. In the United
Kingdom, for instance, many CEOs of large companies learned their
trade at Mars, Inc., including former Mars executives Allan Leighton,
the former appointed CEO of the supermarket chain
Asda and then the
British postal service Royal Mail, and Justin King, former CEO of the
retailer Sainsbury's. Recently, the company caught on to that and
re-branded their employer brand "Mars — The Ultimate Business
In the United States, the company has 20 manufacturing facilities in
Hackettstown, New Jersey; Albany, Georgia; Burr Ridge, Illinois;
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; and Mattoon, Illinois;
Cleveland, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio;
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Greenville, Mississippi; Greenville and
Waco, Texas; Henderson and Reno, Nevada; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Joplin,
Missouri; Miami, Oklahoma; and Galena, Kansas. Their newest facility
is situated in Topeka, Kansas. Their Canadian facilities are located
in Bolton and Newmarket, Ontario.
Mars Food UK Limited
Mars Food UK Limited is the name of the British branch of Mars, Inc.
The company is based in Slough, UK. Mars brands manufactured for the
UK market but not for the US include Tunes.
In 1932, Forrest Mars, Sr., opened what was then Mars (Europe)
headquarters, and remains Mars (UK) headquarters in Slough,
Berkshire on the then-new
Slough Trading Estate, after a
disagreement with his father, Franklin Clarence Mars. In this factory,
he produced the first Mars bar, based on the American Milky Way.
Many brands first created and sold in Britain were later introduced in
the U.S., including Starburst (original UK brand name Opal Fruits) and
Skittles. The brands Twix, and Topic were UK based.
Milky Way in Europe and worldwide is known as the 3 Musketeers in
America. Similarly, the
Snickers bar was previously marketed in
Ireland and the
United Kingdom as Marathon until 1990; in the UK,
France, Germany and the Netherlands, also until 1990; Galaxy in the
Middle East is known as Dove in America and worldwide; and Starburst
was known in the UK and Ireland as Opal Fruits until 1998. Chocolate
and peanut M&M's were introduced in 1990.
Mars Drinks UK
Mars Drinks UK, the beverages division of Mars Limited, operates from
Hampshire and specializes in office vending machines.
Mars Drinks UK comprises the FLAVIA and KLIX brands which offer
branded drinks such as the Starburst Orange Drink, the
Chocolate and the Galaxy drinks.
Mars Drinks also produces coffee and the equipment used to make it. In
1982 FLAVIA was created out of the high demand for coffee in the
United Kingdom. Initially marketed as Dimension 3 until 1989, FLAVIA
was introduced in France and Germany in 1986 and Japan in 1992 then
brought to the United States in 1996 and to Canada in 1997. Other
products such as cappuccino were introduced in 2002 and tea in
Mars' purchase of Doane Petcare Company in June 2007 significantly
increased Mars' position in the U.S. dry pet food category. In
addition to these businesses, Mars also operates a chain of premium
chocolate shops called Ethel M Chocolates. These shops are an
outgrowth of the Ethel M premium chocolate business that Forrest Mars
started in Las Vegas in 1980, when he became bored with
On April 28, 2008, Mars, Incorporated, together with Berkshire
Hathaway Incorporated, announced the buyout of Wm. Wrigley Jr.
Company, the world's largest chewing gum producer, for $23 billion in
an all-cash deal. The two companies together generate sales in excess
of $30 billion.
The company spent more than $1.8 million on lobbying during 2008,
almost all of it at Patton Boggs, where it has long been one of the
largest lobbying clients. Mars also spent $10,000 at Skadden, Arps,
Slate, Meagher & Flom. In 2009, Mars also hired Ernst & Young
to lobby on corporate and international tax issues, including issues
related to tax changes proposed by the Obama administration. The
company spent another $1,655,000 that year.
In 2014, Mars opened a new $270 million chocolate plant in Topeka,
Kansas, the first new plant in the USA in 35 years.
In 2016, Mars announced the merger of its chocolate and Wrigley
segments to form a new subsidiary, appropriately called Mars Wrigley
In 2017, the company's confectionery segment announced a return to its
roots, and opened a new office in Newark.
In February 2003, Mars acquired
Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(API, incorporated in 1964) and in 2007 it was renamed Mars Fishcare,
Inc. The company manufactures and supplies home aquarium and pond
products. Mars Fishcare brands include: Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals (API), RENA, AQUARIAN, and PondCare.
In Australia, the division operates three sites that are located in
Wodonga, Victoria (established in 1967 for manufacture of wet pet
Bathurst, New South Wales
Bathurst, New South Wales (established in the 1980s for
manufacture of dry pet food); and Brisbane,
manufacture of birdcare products).
In January 2017, Mars announced the USD$7.7 billion acquisition of Los
Angeles-based animal hospital chain VCA Inc.
Mars manufacters the 'Trill" birdseed range.
Mars factory in Veghel, Netherlands
The two factories in
Slough were located on Liverpool Road and Dundee
Road; the one on Liverpool Road closed in 2007, with
moving to the
Netherlands and Starburst production moving to the Czech
In 1963 a large factory was opened in
Veghel in the Netherlands. This
factory has currently the biggest production volume of Mars factories
and is even one of the biggest chocolate factories in the world.
Most confectionery products for Europe are produced in
The major production plant for Mars confectionery products in
Australia is in Ballarat, Victoria.
There is one factory outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania. It is located
in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.
Opposition to labeling of genetically engineered ingredients in
Throughout 2012, Mars contributed $376,650 to a $46 million political
campaign known as "The Coalition Against The Costly Food Labeling
Proposition, sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers". This
organization was set up to oppose "Proposition 37", demanding
mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified
Removal of artificial ingredients to food portfolio
In February 2016, Mars stated that it would no longer be using
artificial colors in each of its candy products. The company announced
that more than 50 of its products would be affected in commitment
effort to align with the changing preferences of consumers. The
company along with more than 12 others has recently pledged to remove
colors of an artificial nature from its products. While it has been
said that the use of artificial colors in candy, and other products
sold in the marketplace do not pose a threat to human health outright,
the use of natural ingredients has grown substantially by the
consumers that are purchasing in the marketplace. The company's CEO,
Grant F. Reid, stated that "eliminating all artificial colors from the
food portfolio is a massive undertaking and one that will take time
and hard work to accomplish." The company wanted to assure consumers
that the fun and vibrancy that has remained a staple of the brand for
years, will not be altered in terms of colors or overall flavor. The
company has anticipated that the new ingredient changes will take up
to 5 years, with different formulations existing in various markets
within that time frame, before the process is perfected. The company
was not the first to recently announce that it would be changing the
use of artificial flavors in its products. In 2015, food giant,
General Mills proposed an initiative that noted that all of the
artificial ingredients it was using in its products would be dropped
by 2017. This meant a reformulation of many of the cereals, with
alternatives that were more suitable to the palates of humans. A key
aspect in that proposed initiative was that the cereal, Trix, would no
longer have the blue and green colors forming a new iteration of the
In a press release on the removal of the food dyes, the company wrote
that "replacing artificial colors across all our products is a complex
task. We expect it will take about five years to develop the full
range of alternatives that guarantee the integrity and great taste of
the products you know and love, and to go through the process of
obtaining regulatory approval for all new ingredients in
development.” Mars has frequently used dyes and artificial colors in
many of its products over the years. Due to public outcry calling for
change, and a petition that gained more than 217,000 signatures that
was created by Change.org, the company wanted to bring about a
significant change to the way it was viewed by consumers. There have
been two different arguments presented about the use of artificial
colors in foods. Many studies have shown that their use in food could
be linked to illnesses such as ADHD and cancer. There has seemed to be
an issue with the use of red 40, yellow 3, yellow 5 and yellow 6 and
how they bind to the DNA in humans. Other additives such as Blue 2
have been linked to the cause of brain tumors in rodents and in 1981,
Green 3 was found to be a direct link to bladder cancer. Given the
fact that the company will be replacing the artificial dyes in its
products, the company has also said that consumers should prepare
themselves for the transition process in terms of special packaging
and colors being used as to indicate that the changes have taken
place. It has been said that the company is not likely to stop using
coloring entirely, but that the use of artificial coloring will be
going away. Instead Mars will use natural colors like turmeric in
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Discuss and resolve this issue before removing this message. (November
From May 1, 2007, many Mars products made in the UK became unsuitable
for vegetarians. The company announced that it would be using whey
made with animal rennet (material from a calf's stomach lining, and a
byproduct of veal), instead of using rennet made by microorganisms, in
products including Mars, Twix, Snickers, Maltesers, Bounty, Minstrels
and Milky Way. The response from many consumers, particularly the
Vegetarian Society's request for UK vegetarians to register their
protests with Mars, generated extensive press and caused the company
to abandon the plans shortly thereafter. Mars switched to
all-vegetarian sources in the UK.
In 2007, Mars came under criticism by People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA) for funding laboratory experiments on mice, rats,
guinea pigs and rabbits which the group alleges are inhumane and in
violation of the company’s own policies prohibiting experiments on
One study was conducted in collaboration with the Salk Institute
regarding angiogenesis and spatial memory in which mice were given an
ad libitum diet that included epicatechin, plant-derived flavonoid.
One of the experiments involved groups of control and experimental
animals, the latter of which were housed individually in cages that
included a running wheel for optional exercise for two hours a day,
the former —also housed individually— did not have access to a
running wheel. Another experiment was the classical spatial memory
assay—the Morris water maze—where experimenters had mice to swim
in water mixed with white paint that concealed the water depth.
Several mice were given daily injections of various substances before
being killed and dissected. The study, which Mars contends was legally
required in order for the company to make flavonoid-related health
claims, showed that the inclusion of epicatechin in the diet improved
memory and angiogenesis, and more so if coupled with
Mars has been criticized for buying cocoa beans from West African
farmers who reportedly use unpaid or poorly paid child laborers. In
2009, Mars announced that the company would work towards only
purchasing cocoa from suppliers who meet environmental, labor and
production standards. TransFair USA, an organization which certifies
products as Fair Trade, applauded the move and expressed hope that it
would include a provision for fair wages for laborers and farmers.
In 2010, Mars Inc. received the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for
Corporate Excellence. In April 2010, Mars launched the
MyCocoaPaper initiative, which claims to provide economic
opportunities to women and families in
Indonesia by making paper
products out of cocoa bark and recycled office paper.
In 2011, Mars and Fairtrade International announced an agreement to
introduce the first Fairtrade labeled Mars product and to work
together to enable farmers to have sustainable livelihoods and
substantially increased productivity. The first Mars product to carry
the Fairtrade mark will be Maltesers, to appear in stores in 2012 in
the UK and Ireland.
In September 2017, an investigation conducted by NGO Mighty Earth
found that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by
Mars and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in
national parks and other protected areas in
Ivory Coast and
Ghana. The countries are the world’s two largest cocoa
The report documents how in several national parks and other protected
areas, 90% or more of the land mass has been converted to cocoa.
Less than four percent of
Ivory Coast remains densely forested, and
the chocolate companies’ laissez-faire approach to sourcing has
driven extensive deforestation in
Ghana as well. In Ivory Coast,
deforestation has pushed chimpanzees into just a few small pockets,
and reduced the country’s elephant population from several hundred
thousand to about 200-400.
Many Mars products are household, famous-name brands. Some of these
product lines are manufactured by Mars; others are manufactured by The
A Bounty bar
Seeds of Change
Uncle Ben's Rice
Products manufactured by The Wrigley Company
5 gum cobalt packaging
Products for pet consumption
Pedigree dry dog food
ADVANCE (Australia and New Zealand only)
Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed DNA Test
Discontinued product lines
Summit Cookie Bars
Banfield, The Pet Hospital (managed by MMI company)
VCA Inc. animal hospital chain
BluePearl: Emergency & Specialty clinics.
Abaxis: Veterinary laboratory.
Sound: Veterinary Imagining.
Wisdom Panel: Pet DNA testing.
Awards and honors
The company was named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100
companies to work for in 2013, citing the example that employees of
the pet food division can take their dogs to work.
The company has made donations to Elizabethtown College, which
includes a room sponsored by them and a weekly executive lecture
Diversity in Media Awards
Marketing Campaign of the Year
Maltesers - Dance Floor (TV Advert)
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mars, Incorporated.
Mars Cocoa Sustainability Initiative
Mars, Incorporated companies grouped at OpenCorporates
Mars Symbioscience Businesses:
Franklin Clarence Mars
Ethel V. Mars
Forrest Mars Sr.
Forrest Mars Jr.
John Franklyn Mars
Victoria B. Mars
Galaxy Milk Chocolate
Galaxy Fruit & Nut
Galaxy Honeycomb Crisp
Galaxy Cookie Crumble
Galaxy Orange & Shortcake
Seeds of Change
Wrigley gum and
Big League Chew
Mint and candy
Wisdom Panel MX Mixed Breed DNA Test
Banfield Pet Hospital
VCA Animal Hospitals (pending)