Milky Way (chocolate bar)
The US version (top) and European version (bottom) of Milky Way (picture not to scale)
The Milky Way bar is a chocolate-covered confectionary bar manufactured and distributed by the Mars confectionery company. Introduced in 1923, the Milky Way bar's American version is made of caramel and covered with milk chocolate, similar to the Mars bar sold outside of the U.S. The global Milky Way is a different chocolate candy bar similar to the American 3 Musketeers.
|Nutritional value per 2.05 oz., 58.12 g (1 bar)|
|Dietary fiber||1 g|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The Milky Way bar was created in 1923 by Frank C. Mars and originally manufactured in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The name and taste were taken from a famed malted milk drink (milkshake) of the day, which was in turn named after the Earth’s galaxy.
On March 10, 1925, the Milky Way trademark was registered in the U.S., claiming a first-use date of 1922. In 1924, the Milky Way bar was introduced nationally and sold $800,000 that year. The chocolate for the chocolate coating was supplied by Hershey's.
By 1926, it came out in two flavors: chocolate nougat with milk chocolate coating, and vanilla nougat with a dark chocolate coating, each for a nickel. In June 1932, the Milky Way bar was sold as a two-piece bar, but just four years later, in 1936, the chocolate and vanilla were separated. The vanilla version, with a dark chocolate coating, was called "Forever Yours" and it was produced until 1979. In 1989, Forever Yours was reintroduced and renamed "Milky Way Dark," and later "Milky Way Midnight".
In 1935, the slogan was "The sweet you can eat between meals." It was then changed to "At work, rest and play, you get three great tastes in a Milky Way." By 2006, the U.S. slogan was "Comfort in every bar." and most recently became "Life's Better the Milky Way."
In 2010, the Milky Way Simply Caramel bar went on sale. This version has no nougat and is made of caramel covered in milk chocolate. In 2011, a fun size offering of the Simply Caramel bar was introduced.
In 2012, Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis went on sale as a limited time offer for the Halloween season.
The American Milky Way bar contains 240 calories in each 52.2 gram bar, while the smaller Milky Way Midnight contains 220 calories in each 50 gram bar and the Milky Way Simply Caramel bar contains 250 calories in each 54 gram bar.
In November 2012, a new print and digital advertising campaign was launched in the U.S. called "Sorry, I was Eating a Milky Way". This campaign portrays the comical aftermath of what happens after someone (off camera) was distracted due to eating a Milky Way bar. This campaign originated from the insight that eating a Milky Way bar is a slow and involved process due to its caramel, chocolate, and nougat.
The bar's European version has no caramel topping, and consists of a nougat center that is considerably lighter than that of the Mars bar. Due to this low density (0.88 g/cm3), it floats when placed in milk. This rare attribute was used for an advertising campaign in Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, and the UK.
Originally available within Europe only in chocolate flavor, the center changed to vanilla flavor at around 1993, though the chocolate flavor still remains available in Australia. The bar is also available in banana, mango, and strawberry flavors.
In the UK, Mars introduced the Flyte bar which was identical to the old-style chocolate flavored Milky Way but only came in twin packs. The Flyte bar was later discontinued in 2015. Also available in Europe are Milky Way Crispy Rolls, chocolate-covered wafer rolls with milk-cream fillings.
A popular child-oriented derivative of the Milky Way bar known as 'Milky Way Magic Stars' is also sold in the UK and consists of small aerated chocolate star shapes. Every star is engraved with a different smiley face, each representing one of the magic star characters portrayed on the packaging. The characters are: Pop Star, Jess Star, Bright Star, Super Star, Twinkle Star, Falling Star, Happy Star, Sport Star, Clever Star and Baby Star. These used to appear in the advertising for the product but now they are just engraved on the stars with no allusion to the characters on the packaging or advertisements.
Depending on the version consumed, the calorie intake is different. For the British version, this bar is 96 calories.
A long running advertising slogan for the product in the United Kingdom and Australia was, "The sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite". In 1991, the Health Education Authority and anti-sugar lobbyists both complained, without success, to the Independent Television Commission that such advertising encouraged children to eat sweets between meals. The ITC agreed with Mars that its advertisements in fact encouraged restrained eating.
However, marketing for snack foods such as Milky Way has altered since the 1980s, with its focus now being the reverse of what it was. Instead of Milky Way and similar foods (e.g. the Cadbury Fudge) being snack foods that will not prevent one from eating normal meals, modern marketing defines these snacks as ones that will reduce hunger at mealtimes and curb the appetite in-between. By 2003, sweet marketers such as Andrew Harrison of Nestlé were seeing a reduced social stigma attached to not consuming three square meals a day, and thus the falling out of favor of the old Milky Way slogan.
Probably the most famous advert was originally aired in 1989. It featured a red 1951 Buick Roadmaster and a blue 1959 Cadillac Series 62 having a race with the red car eating everything in sight. The blue car instead eats a Milky Way. The advert ends with the red car falling through a bridge due to being too fat and the blue car winning the race. The advert re-aired in 2009, albeit with considerable edits, such as lyric and sign changes to remove the claim that it does not spoil a person's appetite.
Milky Way adverts in the 1990s showed how light in weight the Milky Way bars were via showing that they floated on milk, but this actually shows that they are less dense than milk. Milky Ways still float on milk today, except for the U.S.A. version, which has caramel on the nougat, making it denser than the worldwide version.
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In the UK at least this was slightly modified in 1993 to 'So light it won't ruin your appetite' and was advertised on UK screens as having 'a new light whipped filling' - after the centre changed from chocolate flavoured to a white vanilla flavoured one - with a cartoonified boy taking part in a science experiment to see how they float on milk and debuted with a new 'reverse' wrapper i.e. instead of just being blue with white lettering this new wrapper was predominantly white (with some blue on the bottom half) and blue lettering.
- Mike Johnson (December 19, 1991). "Mars wins over ITC in Milky Way ads battle". AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- Dominic Rushe (October 1, 2006). "Fat chance for food firms". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- Michael Bird (June 1, 2003). "Choc therapy: Nestle Rowntree marketing manager Andrew Harrison is no stranger to the charms of his products, nor to the tastes and habits of his customers". In-Store. AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- XxThereianxX (30 June 2009). "Milky Way Ad Then and Now" – via YouTube.
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