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Milky Way (chocolate bar)

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Milky Way
US Milky Way UK Milky Way
The US and Mexico version (top) and global version (bottom) of Milky Way (picture not to scale)
Product typeConfectionery
OwnerMars Incorporated
Introduced1924; 100 years ago (1924) (US)
1935; 89 years ago (1935) (UK)

Milky Way is a brand of chocolate-covered confectionery bar manufactured and marketed by Mars, Incorporated. There are two varieties: the US Milky Way bar, which is sold as the Mars bar worldwide, including Canada; and the global Milky Way bar, which is sold as the 3 Musketeers in the US and Canada (neither bar is sold as Milky Way in Canada).

US version[edit]

Milky Way Bar (American version)
Nutritional value per 2.05 oz., 58.12 g (1 bar)
57 g
Sugars21 g
Dietary fiber1 g
9 g
Saturated7 g
1 g
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[1] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[2]
Source: Nutritionalicion information from Mars, Inc.

The Milky Way bar is made of nougat, topped with caramel and covered with milk chocolate. It was created in 1923 by Frank C. Mars and originally manufactured in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The name and taste derived from a then-popular malted milk drink (milkshake) of the day, not after the astronomical galaxy.[3][4]

On March 10, 1925, the Milky Way trademark was registered in the US, claiming a first-use date of 1922.[5] In 1924, the Milky Way bar was introduced nationally, with sales totalling $800,000 that year. The chocolate for the chocolate coating was supplied by Hershey's.[6]

By 1926, two variants were available: chocolate nougat with milk chocolate coating, and vanilla nougat with a dark chocolate coating, each selling for 5¢. In June 1932, the bar was marketed as a two-piece bar, and four years later, in 1936, the chocolate and vanilla were separated. The vanilla version with a dark chocolate coating was called "Forever Yours" and was marketed under this name until 1979, then Milky Way Dark was reintroduced in 1989.[7] Later "Milky Way Dark" was renamed "Milky Way Midnight".[8]

In 1935, Mars used the marketing slogan "The sweet you can eat between meals,"[6] later using "At work, rest and play, you get three great tastes in a Milky Way." By 2006, Mars used the slogan "Comfort in every bar" in the US and most recently "Life's better the Milky Way."[9]

Milky Way Simply Caramel bar

In 2010, the Milky Way Simply Caramel bar went on sale, a version with caramel covered in milk chocolate and without nougat. In 2011, Mars introduced a small size (marketed as fun size) Simply Caramel bar. A salted caramel version has since been introduced.

In 2012, Milky Way Caramel Apple Minis went on sale as a limited offer for the Halloween season.

In late summer of 2018, Milky Way Fudge, which substitutes chocolate fudge nougat for malt nougat, was introduced nationwide.[10]

The American Milky Way bar has 240 calories in each 52.2 gram bar; the Milky Way Midnight has 220 calories in each 50 gram bar; and the Milky Way Simply Caramel bar has 250 calories in each 54 gram bar.[11]


In November 2012, a new print and digital advertising campaign was launched in the US called "Sorry, I was eating a Milky Way". The campaign portrayed the comical aftermath of what happens after someone (off camera) is distracted due to eating a Milky Way bar. This campaign originated from the suggestion that eating a Milky Way bar may be a slow, involved process.[12]

Global version[edit]

The US version (left) and global version (right) of Milky Way
The US (left) and global (right) bars each feature different types of filling.

The version of the Milky Way bar sold outside the United States has no caramel topping; it consists of a nougat centre that is considerably less dense than that of the British Mars bar and the American Milky Way bar. The global Milky Way bar is marketed in the United States as 3 Musketeers bar. Because of this low density (0.88 g/cm3), it floats in milk, an attribute highlighted in an advertising campaign in several European countries.[13]

Originally available within Europe only in chocolate flavor, the center was revised to vanilla flavor around 1993, though the chocolate flavor still remains available in Australia. The bar is also available in banana, mango, and strawberry flavors. [citation needed]

In the UK, Mars introduced the Flyte bar, which was identical to the old-style chocolate flavored Milky Way, marketed in twin packs and discontinued in 2015. Also available in Europe are Milky Way Crispy Rolls, chocolate-covered wafer rolls with milk-cream fillings.

A variant of the Milky Way bar branded 'Milky Way Magic Stars', created by Barnaby Edwards, is marketed in the UK, with small aerated chocolate star shapes. Each star is engraved with a different smiley face, representing one of the "magic star" characters portrayed on the packaging and referenced in the advertising: Pop Star, Jess Star, Bright Star, Super Star, Twinkle Star, Falling Star, Happy Star, Sport Star, Clever Star and Baby Star. Subsequently, reference to the characters was dropped, the packaging since depicting blank stars, although the faces remain in the chocolates themselves. As of at least 2024 the faces have returned on the packaging for magic stars.

Calorie count varies. The British version of the Milky Way bar has 96 kilocalories (400 kJ).


The fact that the chocolate bar floats in milk was highlighted by advertising campaigns in several European countries[13]

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".[14] 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.[15]

Once marketed as a snack food that would not intrude on regular meals, modern marketing portrays the Milky Way as a snack reducing mealtime hunger and curbing the appetite between meals.[16]

A widely known advertisement was debuted in 1989, featuring a red 1951 Buick Roadmaster and a vehicle that resembles a blue 1959 Cadillac Series 62 (lacking its dual headlights) racing, with the former eating everything in sight and the latter eating a Milky Way. The advertisement ends with the bridge to Dinnertown being out and the now fat red car being too heavy to jump the gap while the blue car makes the jump. The advertisement returned albeit edited in 2009, removing the claim that the Milky Way is not an appetite spoiler.[17]

A variant of the car commercial is one that takes place in outer space and features a race between a satellite and a meteor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  2. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  3. ^ "Sweet! Milky Way Bar Celebrates 85th Anniversary". Food Channel. 18 July 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  4. ^ "Milky Way® Brand Timeline". Mars Incorporated. Archived from the original on 2004-01-11. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  5. ^ "Milky Way". Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR). United States Patent and Trademark Office. Archived from the original on 2023-04-26. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  6. ^ a b Andrew F. Smith (2006). Encyclopedia of junk food and fast food. Vol. p. 186. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 321. ISBN 0-313-33527-3. Archived from the original on 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  7. ^ Brenner, Joël Glenn The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars p.174 Broadway Books, 04/01/2000
  8. ^ "Gone but not Forgotten". 30 January 2012. Archived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Emotional Food Ad Slogans". blubberbuster.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-10. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  10. ^ Flager, Madison (10 August 2018). "Milky Way Launched A New Fudge Bar". Delish. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Milky Way Nutritional Information". Mars, Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  12. ^ "Milky Way Facebook Page". Mars Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  13. ^ a b atariman1988 (March 18, 2008). "Milky Way (UK) chocolate advert 1993". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12 – via YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Daniel Miller (2001). Consumption: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences. Vol. 4. Taylor & Francis. p. 484. ISBN 0-415-24270-3. Archived from the original on 2023-04-26. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 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. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  15. ^ Mike Johnson (December 19, 1991). "Mars wins over ITC in Milky Way ads battle". AccessMyLibrary. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ XxThereianxX (30 June 2009). "Milky Way Ad Then and Now". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]