Mars, Incorporated

Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Confectionery manufacturing
Founded 1911 in Tacoma, Washington, USA
1920 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Founder(s) Frank C. Mars
Headquarters 6885 Elm Street, McLean, Virginia, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people John Mars
Paul S. Michaels
(President and CEO)
Products Mars · M&M's · Milky Way · Bounty · Snickers · Twix · Pedigree · Uncle Ben's · Skittles · Dove/Galaxy · Juicy Fruit · Spearmint · Doublemint · Freedent · Big Red · Extra · Winterfresh · Orbit · Eclipse · 5 · Hubba Bubba · Life Savers · Starburst
Revenue increase US$30 billion (2010)[1]
Owner(s) Mars family
Employees 70,000 (2008)[1]
Subsidiaries Wrigley Jr. Company

Mars, Incorporated is a worldwide manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products with US$30 billion in annual sales in 2010, and is ranked as the 5th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes.[2] Headquartered in McLean, unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, USA,[3][4] the company is entirely owned by the Mars family. Mars operates in six business segments in the U.S.: Chocolate (Hackettstown, New Jersey), Petcare (Franklin, Tennessee), Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Chicago, Illinois), Food (Los Angeles, California), Drinks (West Chester, Pennsylvania), and Symbioscience (Rockville, Maryland).[5]



Mars is known for its confectionery products such as Milky Way, M&M's, Twix, Skittles, Snickers, and the Mars bar. They also produce non-confectionery snacks (including Combos) and other foods (including Uncle Ben's and British pasta sauce brand Dolmio) as well as pet foods (such as Whiskas and Pedigree brands). Orbit gum is among the most popular brands.

Mars was founded by Frank C. Mars and is a company that is known for the confectionery items that it creates. Some well known products include: Milky Way, M & M’s, Snickers, and Hubba Bubba. They also create non-confectionery products such as Orbit, Dove, Uncle Ben’s, Flavia, and various pet foods.[6]

Orbit chewing gum is owned by the brand Wrigley, which is owned by Mars. It has been around for a while and dates back to World War II. Wrigley at one time was only making their gum available to soldiers. Orbit was the gum that they made available to the public, but it was abandoned after the war. About 60 years later it made a comeback in America during the gum craze. –Quentin Woods

Frank C. Mars, whose mother taught him to hand dip candy, sold candy by age 19.[7] The Mars Candy Factory he started in 1911 with Ethel V. Mars, his second wife, in Tacoma, Washington,[7] ultimately failed[8] but it had already become a large employer, producing and selling fresh candy wholesale.[7] By 1920, Frank Mars had returned to his home state, Minnesota, where the company was founded that year as Mar-O-Bar Co. in Minneapolis[9] and later incorporated there as Mars, Incorporated.[7] Forrest Mars, son of Frank Mars and his first wife who was also named Ethel, was inspired by a popular type of milkshake[10] in 1923, to introduce the Milky Way bar, advertised as a "chocolate Malted Milk in a candy bar",[11] and became the best-selling candy bar.[9] In 1927–1928[10] or 1929, Frank moved the company to the Chicago, Illinois, area.[9] In 1932, Forrest started Mars Limited in the United Kingdom, and launched the Mars bar.

Mars is still a family owned business, belonging to 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."[12] In 1999, for example, the company did not acknowledge that Forrest Mars, Sr., had died or that he had worked for the company.[13]

The company argues that because of private ownership, there is no need to account to anyone but themselves. In the same spirit, Mars, Inc., does not cooperate with many widely publicized organizations, such as Fair trade, arguing that its own internal standards deliver even better results. An example is the company's Cocoa Sustainability initiative.[14]

Despite its secrecy, Mars, Incorporated has developed a reputation across its leading markets to be excellent training grounds 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 and Justin King, the former appointed CEO of the supermarket chain Asda and then the British postal service Royal Mail, with the latter presently the CEO of the retailer J Sainsbury plc. Recently, the company caught on to that and re-branded their employer brand to "Mars — The Ultimate Business School".[15]

Moving into the fourth generation of family ownership, the company recently passed from family leadership into non-family leadership; however, the business is still owned by the family. The global CEO of Mars, Inc. is Paul Michaels. Michaels is part of a new group of non-family management that has taken over since the retirement of John and Forrest Mars, Jr.. The family now oversees the business as a council or board of directors.

In the United States the company has manufacturing facilities in Hackettstown, New Jersey; Albany, Georgia; Burr Ridge, Chicago and Mattoon, Illinois; Cleveland, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Greenville, Mississippi; Greenville and Waco, Texas; Henderson and Reno, Nevada; Vernon, California; Ft.Smith, Arkansas; Joplin, Missouri; Miami, Oklahoma; and Galena, Kansas. Their Canadian facilities are located in Bolton and Newmarket, Ontario.[16]

Recent History

Mars' purchase of Doane Petcare Company in June 2007 significantly increased its position in the U.S. dry pet food category. In addition to these businesses, Mars also operates a chain of premium chocolate shops across the United States called Ethel's. 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 retirement.[17]

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 are expected to generate sales in excess of $27 billion.

The company spent more than $1.8 million 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.[18]

Until sold in June 2006, a division of Mars known as Mars Electronics International produced, among other products, coin mechanisms such as those used in vending machines. MEI also manufactured bill validators, which were among the most common bill validators found in the US.

A further Mars business — Four Square — utilize those products formerly made at MEI in their vending machines. Four Square comprises the Flavia and Klix brands. Flavia operates within the US, UK and Japanese markets, while Klix operates within UK, Germany and France.

In 2007, Mars, Incorporated undertook a major rebranding operation which saw, among other global changes, Four Square being renamed to Mars Drinks, the pet food division (formerly part of Masterfoods) being renamed to Mars Petfoods and Masterfoods itself (the largest division of Mars, Incorporated) being renamed to Mars Snacks[citation needed].


The European division is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and was known as Masterfoods Europe until the end of 2007. The name Masterfoods originally came from a food business founded by the Lewis family in 1949 in Australia, and acquired by Mars in 1967. The Canadian division (formerly Effem Inc.) is based in Bolton, Ontario.

The company announced at the end of 2007 that all business units were adopting the name Mars. Masterfoods ceased to be a business name but continues as the brand name of food products in Australia.

Mars Fishcare

In February 2003, Mars acquired Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.[19] (API, incorporated in 1964) and in 2007 it was renamed Mars Fishcare, Inc. The company manufactures and supplies home aquarium and pond products.[20] Mars Fishcare brands include:[21] Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API),[22] RENA,[23] AQUARIAN,[24] and PondCare.[25]

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 Maltesers and Tunes.

In 1932, Forrest Mars, Sr., opened what was then Mars (Europe) headquarters, and remains Mars (UK) headquarters in Slough, UK[13] on the then-new Slough Trading Estate after a disagreement with his father, Frank C. Mars. In this factory, he produced the first Mars bar, based on the American Milky Way.[26] In 1936, Mars separated the vanilla version of Milky Way to a separate brand, Forever Yours, which was discontinued and later reintroduced as Milky Way Dark and later still, Milky Way Midnight.[citation needed]

Many brands which were later introduced in the US were first created and sold in Britain;[citation needed] these include Starburst, Skittles, Twix, Snickers and Topic.

The bar formerly sold in the U.S. as the Mars bar is now marketed in that country as the Snickers Almond Bar and is not sold consistently in the UK where it has appeared with other special editions that are released occasionally.

Milky Way in Europe and worldwide is known as the 3 Musketeers in America. Similarly, the Snickers bar was previously marketed in Britain and the Republic of Ireland as Marathon until 1990; in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, also until 1990; Galaxy is known as Dove in America and the Middle East; and Starburst was known in the UK and Ireland as Opal Fruits until 1998. Chocolate and peanut M&M's were introduced in 1990.


The two factories in Slough were located on Liverpool Road and Dundee Road; the one on Liverpool Road closed in 2007, with Twix and Starburst production moving to the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.[27]

In 1963 a large factory was opened in Veghel, 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.[28] Most confectionery products for Europe are produced in Slough, UK and Veghel, the Netherlands.

The major production plant for Mars products in Australia is in Ballarat, Victoria.[29]

Mars Drinks UK

Mars Drinks UK, the drinks division of Mars Limited, operates from Basingstoke in Hampshire and specialises in office vending machines. Mars Drinks UK comprises the FLAVIA and Klix brands which offer branded drinks such as the Starburst Orange Drink, the Maltesers Hot Chocolate and the Galaxy drinks.

Nevertheless, Mars is not only the producer of chocolate bars and gum. Mars is also a producer of other items such as coffee and the equipment used to make it. In 1982 Flavia was created out of the high demand for coffee in the United Kingdom. However, back then Flavia was known as “Dimension 3” until 1989. It was introduced in France and Germany in 1986 and Japan in 1992 then brought to the United States in 1996. Quickly enough, Mar’s Flavia coffee spread to Canada in 1997. With their business booming, they started manufacturing other products such as cappuccino in 2002 and tea in 2004. - Maria Zavala


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.[30] The response from many thousands of consumers, particularly the Vegetarian Society's request for UK vegetarians to register their protests with Mars, generated a lot of press, and caused the company to abandon these plans shortly thereafter.[31] It has reportedly decided to switch to all-vegetarian sources in the near future in the UK.[32][33] In January 2008, the Metro newspaper reported that Mars had allegedly begun to incorporate animal-derived rennet.[34]

Mars has come under criticism by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for funding animal tests which the group alleges are inhumane, including a study 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 in a cage that included a running wheel for optional exercise for two hours a day, the former did not have access to a running wheel. Another experiment was the classical spacial memory assay, the Morris water maze. The study showed that the inclusion of epicatechin in the diet improved memory and angiogenesis, and more so if coupled with exercise.[35][36]

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, as of 2010, the company would only purchase 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.[37] In 2010, Mars Inc. received the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence.[38] 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.[39]


Many of Mars' products are famous-name brands, including:

Other confections, no longer produced, include:


TerraCycle repurposes waste packaging from Mars Incorporated and Wrigley's operations into products ranging from cell phone holders and laptop sleeves to messenger bags.

See also

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  1. ^ a b "Yahoo! Finance: Mars, Incorporated Company Profile". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  2. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies". November 3, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ "McLean CDP, Virginia." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 1, 2009.
  4. ^ "Locations." Mars, Incorporated. Retrieved on September 1, 2009.
  5. ^ - Company overview
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d "History". Mars, Incorporated. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  8. ^ Alexander, Morgan (May 28, 2008). "Mars in Tacoma". The Tacoma Sun. Retrieved 2008-10-06.  and "Mars family". Practically Edible.!openframeset&frame=Right&Src=/edible.nsf/pages/marsfamily!opendocument. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  9. ^ a b c "Franklin Mars". The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  10. ^ a b El-Hai, Jack (March 2007). "Candy Bar Combat". Minnesota Monthly (Greenspring Media Group). Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  11. ^ "Milky Way Brand Timeline". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  12. ^ Joel Glenn Brenner, "Planet of the M&M's", Washington Post Magazine, April 12, 1992.
  13. ^ a b Chong, Liz (2005-08-29). "Two Mars staff for trial on fraud charges". London: TimesOnline.,,9070-1754766,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  14. ^ "Mars, Incorporated: Cocoa Sustainability, A Commitment to the Future". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  15. ^ "The Ultimate Business School". Mars. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  16. ^ Mars, Inc. - Where we operate: Canada
  17. ^ Joel Glenn Brenner (1999). The Emperors of Chocolate. Random House, Inc.. p. 324. ISBN 0-679-42190-4. 
  18. ^ Lobbying Expenses
  19. ^ Mars Acquires API, UKPets, February 28, 2003,, retrieved April 22, 2011 
  20. ^ "Mars Fishcare Inc.". Business Week. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Welcome". Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Company History". Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Company History". Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Company History". Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Company History". Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Slough History Online: Themes - "Smoke, Steam and (Computer) Chips: Mars — the Chocolate Planet"". 1932-05-17. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  27. ^ " "Mars cuts 700 from UK workforce"". BBC News. 2005-03-10. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  28. ^ "Mars Netherlands — Home". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  29. ^ Sobey, Emily (2009-11-25). "Mars celebrates 30 years in Ballarat". Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  30. ^ " "Mars starts using animal products" May 14, 2007". BBC News. 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  31. ^ " "Mars bars get veggie status back" May 20, 2007". BBC News. 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  32. ^ Wallop, Harry (2007-05-21). ""Mars in damage limitation exercise" May 21, 2007". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  33. ^ "Mars UK press release Aug, 2007: "Introduction of vegetarian labelling on our leading UK confectionery brands"". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  34. ^ "Want meat in your choc bar? Twix fits!". Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  35. ^ van Praag H, Lucero MJ, Yeo GW, Stecker K, Heivand N, Zhao C, Yip E, Afanador M, Schroeter H, Hammerstone J, Gage FH Plant-Derived Flavanol Epicatechin Enhances Angiogenesis and Retention of Spatial Memory in Mice J Neuroscience, 27(22):5869-5878, May 30, 2007
  36. ^ Plant-Derived Flavanol (–)Epicatechin Enhances Angiogenesis and Retention of Spatial Memory in Mice - Scientific Research
  37. ^ Lazo, Alejandro (April 10, 2009). "Mars Sets Goal for Sustainable Cocoa Sources". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  38. ^ Remarks at the 12th Annual Secretary's Awards for Corporate Excellence
  39. ^ "New Cocoa Paper Product Line Provides Economic Opportunities For Cocoa Farming Families". Mars Inc.. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 

Further reading

External links

Mars Symbioscience Businesses:

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