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The History of Milky Way Bars

With Halloween just around the corner, we’re delving into the history behind Milky Way bars. The Mars company claims that Milky Way bars were created by Frank Mars along with his son. However, his son Forrest claimed throughout his life that the idea was his own. When the first Milky Way bars hit the market in 1923, they were noticeably large – they weighed 3 ounces. Their large size was meant to give them an edge over the smaller Hershey bars at the candy counter. The original recipe used far more nougat than caramel in order to save money, but today the caramel ratio is much higher and is, in fact, a key selling point. Many people assume the candy bars were named after the galaxy, but they were actually named after malted milk. Hershey’s supplied the chocolate for Milky Way bars until 1965, when Forrest Mars abruptly ended the contract. Outside the United States, Milky Way bars are quite different – in Europe, they are smaller and don’t have any caramel in the filling, while Australian versions feature unique flavors like banana or berries and cream. Forrest Mars’ father gave him the foreign rights to Milky Way, which Forest used to create the UK’s Mars bar – it’s very similar to the US Milky Way and is sold in Europe, Canada, and Australia. Today, Milky Way bars bring in over $100 million in yearly sales and remain an extremely popular candy bar, especially during Halloween.

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