Milky Way Candy
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Milky Way Candy (History, Pictures & Commercials)

The Milky Way candy bar that is made of nougat topped with caramel and covered with milk chocolate for its North American version. The Milky Way bar was introduced in the year 1924, and by 1926 there were two versions available. Both chocolate nougat with milk chocolate coating and vanilla nougat with dark chocolate coating versions have been created.

Milky Way candy has enjoyed a lot of success in the American candy market, with both full-size and miniature sizes being available to the public.

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Milky Way Candy

History And Information

The Milky Way’s main ingredients are milk chocolate, made from sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk, and milkfat. In addition, other ingredients in the candy bar are corn syrup, sugar, and palm oil to make them taste sweeter. Frank Mars is the founder of the MAR-O-BAR company, better known today as Mars. Inc corporation.

Mars Incorporated was created in 1911 in Tacoma, Washington. His very first candy bar invention was the Milky Way Candy Bar in 1923, which came in both chocolate and vanilla flavors. He created a simple yet delicious hard chocolate coating around a nougat center.

In the very beginning, the chocolate coating was actually supplied by Hershey’s chocolate. The bars were originally wrapped by hand, as wrapping candy in the 1920s was a new phenomenon when it came to packaging and selling candy. It was first sold in 1924 and had over $800,000 in sales for the bar in the first year.

The Milky Way candy bar was advertised in 1925, as having more malted milk content than a soda fountain double malted milk. The idea of the invention of the Milky Way was that you could enjoy milk chocolate, often found in drink substitutes at the time, in an affordable (10 cents) delicious candy bar.

The idea of putting malt-flavored taste in chocolate was because of the malt that was used to create milkshakes. The Milky Way bar name became trademarked by Mars Inc. in 1925. In 1926, the company was moved to Chicago Illinois and shortly thereafter, by 1929, the Milky Way bar was the best-selling candy bar in the United States.

The backstory on the inventor of the Milky Way candy starts with a young man with a big dream. Frank Mars was a son of a gristmill worker and started looking for various opportunities to support his young son, Forrest Mars. Someone who once started as a salesman for chips soon turned around to start one of the biggest well-known successful companies that lasted over 100 years later.

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Sometime between 1882, the year of his birth, and 1910, Frank set off to learn as much as he could about the candy-making business in both Tacoma and Seattle. After much struggle between his divorce and small capital, he was nonetheless determined to drive a successful candy-making business. He started making small but popular butter-cream candies in his very own kitchen.

Mars encountered a revelation and took notice of the exploding post-war obsession with the chocolate craze that soon led him to create his very first chocolate bar- the Mar-O-Bar. This gave him a foothold in the candy-making industry and soon took off is the very invention of the Milky Way Candy bar made at N. Oak Park Ave in Chicago, Illinois. Some very peculiar and unsuspecting ingredients in this Milky Way Candy bar were said to contain “sunlight and fresh air”, as seen in one of the first-ever advertised print ads for the Milky Way bar. The highlight behind why sunlight and fresh air were ingredients in the making of this bar is due to the notion that Mr. Mars created his candy homemade in the very kitchen in which he lived with the windows open allowing him to bake the most delicious chocolate bar he would fathom.

The Milky Way brand extended into variations beginning in 1936. The Forever Yours bar is actually a spin-off of the original vanilla version made in 1926. The Forever Yours bar was first made in 1936 and includes chewy (not creamy) caramel, fluffy vanilla nougat, encased in bittersweet dark chocolate. This candy bar eventually ended up being discontinued in 1979.

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Not long thereafter, in 1989 this vanilla bar was reunited with the Mars Inc. company and was renamed as Milky Way Dark bar. The very same bar was renamed again in 2000 to what is now known as the Milky Way Midnight bar, which can be seen on the website. This delicious bar is featured with vanilla-flavored nougat, caramel and dark chocolate.

The Year The Milky Way Bar Was Invented

The Milky Way bar was invented in the year 1924, and by 1926 there were 2 versions available.

What Was the Milky Way Bar Named After?

The Milky Way candy bar is often thought incorrectly to be named after space. This is not actually the case and it was named after the malted milk drinks that were popular at the time in many confectionaries and soda shop items. Malted milk was actually first sold as a baby formula and was still being associated with the health food category when the Milky Way Bar was first being made.

The early versions of the ads for this bar stated that the bar had more malted milk than a soda fountain double. This would have made the bar seem very healthy to consume in those days and while this seems totally against common sense now, people would have been drawn to these candy bars for health reasons at the time.

The original bars were actually quite large and were about 3 ounces, which was double the size of the standard bars on the market. The bar was also more square than candy bars now, although that was more normal for its day. The company claimed that the thick and large candy bar was meant to look more impressive and exciting that the flat and spare looking Hershey’s Bar. This was probably a really big sell when coupled with the health benefits of the malted milk ingredients inside the bar.

Varieties of the Milky Way Bar

As with many other candy bars, there are various versions and varieties of this bar that are sold in different locations. Sometimes candies cannot be sold for one reason or another under their original name or branding when they are offered for sale in other countries. Milky Way candy bars are sold in different countries under different names due to licensing and other issues that might lead to marketing problems.

The global Milky Way bar is actually sold as 3 Musketeers candy in the US and Canada. This might seem like a totally unique bar if you do not know this but it is actually the same thing as a Milky Way bar. The US Milky Way Bar is sold as the Mars Bar worldwide as well as in Canada. Neither one of these is sold in Canada under the banner of Milky Way.

The global version of the bar does not offer the same taste profile either. It has no caramel topping and has a nougat center that is not as heavy as the other versions of this bar. This is the 3 Musketeers bar in the US. This candy bar actually floats in milk due to the way that it is made, and this has led to a lot of advertising focused around this feature in the US as well as other locations.

The bar was originally a chocolate flavor when it was sold in Europe but the middle of the bar was changed to taste like Vanilla in 1993. In Australia, this is still the way that it is sold. In Australia, you can also get banana, mango, and strawberry varieties as well.

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In The UK, the Mars bar was called the Flyte bar when it was first made. It was made like the old Milky Way candy at the time and was made in twin packs for UK sales. This bar was discontinued in 2015 but you can still get Milky Way Crispy Rolls there which have a cream-milk filling and are more like a wafer roll. There is also a variant in the UK called Milky Way Magic Stars.

This is a small chocolate star shaped candy that is not a bar. These little treats are made with unique magic star characters on each one. There is a whole cast of characters associated with these little candies and the characters are part of how the bar is marketed there.

An additional slightly less popular version of this candy bar family is the Milky Way Dark Bar. It is now the Milky Way Midnight Bar. When it was first made, it was a dark chocolate bar that had vanilla nougat and caramel inside of it. The company sold the bars in the same package for a time in the early 30s. Later the bar was renamed the Forever Yours bar and was made with white nougat inside. This was changed to the Milky Way Dark bar in 1989 when it was brought back to the market after a 10-year hiatus due to declining sales.


This candy bar has been marketed in many ways due to the various ways that it has been made over the years and the many flavors and varieties that exist in other places besides the US. In the UK, the aforementioned Milky Way Magic Stars has led to characters named Jess Star, Bright Star, Super Star, Twinkle Star, Falling Star, Happy Star, Sport Star, Clever Star, and Baby Star. These characters help to market the star-shaped treats but also seem to help market the brand as a whole.

In the UK and Australia, there was also a slogan that said, “The sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite”. While this is a bit of a mouthful, during the years where candy was thought to be a suitable meal replacement for good health, this was how a lot of candy bars advertised themselves.

In the US, there were many ads in the 80s and mid-90s that showed cars eating the bars. These cartoony cars were both eating different candy bars and food and the car eating the Milky Way candy is able to make a jump over a bridge that is opening up while the other car that has been eating other candy and foods is too fat to make the jump. This kind of ploy was to the benefit of the sugar lobby and was common in many candy commercials at the time.

As the sugar lobby came on the scene to end the focus on candy as a meal replacement option, the candy bars began to be floated in milk in many ads to somehow prove that they were no longer to be eaten as a heavy meal replacer. This was all talk and no action as it would take some years before the recipes of the bars would be changed to actually reduce sugars and make the candy a lot healthier overall. The slow changes to the marketing of candy bars as a whole led to a lot of misconceptions about how candy should be consumed. Even today, Snickers bars dance around the idea of being a meal replacer in their current ad campaigns.

There was a short time where Buster Keaton was in ads for the candy. This was in the 60s and the then not-so-young silent film star still pulled off some impressive hijinks during the ad. This was a short-lived ad run, but you can still see this ad on YouTube because the ad is still so well-known. This was a bit of a reinvention of the overall campaign style for this candy and it is too bad that it did not last longer or generate other ads like it. You can see the ad here.

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The reason that this kind of ad campaign might have been halted was that there was an issue with Mars ads in the 60s that was related to the claims that the company had made about the healthy nature of the bar. The FTC issued orders for the bar to draw back its farm-fresh and health food claims. Issues lingered for years with regard to ads that claimed that the bar contained a quarter cup of fresh milk.

Current ad campaigns tend to focus on the idea that people will forget to attend appointments and visit friends or do homework because they are enjoying their Milky Way bar too much. The tagline, “Sorry I was eating a Milky Way” is common in these ads. This gives the idea that this bar is meant to be savored and that it should not be bolted down eagerly without thinking.

Wrappers and Design for Marketing

These candy bars are sold with different wrappers in different places. The global Milky Way Bar is sold with a blue wrapper with white lettering. There are stars all over the background of the wrapper and white swirls all around the candy bar logo. The American version is a brown background with green lettering. The 3 Musketeers bar is wrapped in a silver wrapper with red lettering on a blue background.

There is a similar font used for all of the packaging choices and you will be able to see that the bars are related when you line them up. The fonts are similar even if the colors and the names are not. This is an interesting marketing choice since most candy bars have more interesting and bright wrappers on them these days, but this kind of candy has always been wrapped in these sorts of retro colors.

Sticking to a recognizable wrapper design can help to retain brand recognition for these more traditional bars and many companies make sure not to change out the wrappers or the other marketing materials that are bonded closely with brand recognition. A great example of this is the Hershey’s Bar with its dark brown wrapper and simple lettering.

The Company That Makes The Milky Way Bar

The company that makes the Milky Way bar is Mars, Incorporated, an American global manufacturer of confectionery and the maker of Snickers, the Mars Bar, and Twix.


Milky Way Candy Logo

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You can also buy Milky Way at Old Time Candy by clicking the image below.

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Here are the ingredients of Milky Way candy.

  • Sugar
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Cocoa Mass, Milk Fat
  • Lactose
  • Whey Powder (from Milk)
  • Barley Malt Extract
  • Salt
  • Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin)
  • Palm Fat
  • Egg White Powder
  • Hydrolysed Milk Protein
  • Natural Vanilla Extract
  • Milk Chocolate contains Milk Solids 14% minimum


Serving Size: 23g % Daily Value *
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2.8g 14%
Cholesterol 2.1mg 1%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0.2g 1%
Sugar 14g
Protein 0.9g 2%
Vitamin D 0.1mcg 0%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 0.1mg 1%
Potassium 29mg 1%
  • The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contribute to a daily diet. 2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.




What is in a Milky Way Candy bar?

Here are the ingredients of Milky Way candy. Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter Sunflower Oil, Cocoa Mass, Milk Fat, Lactose, Whey Powder (from Milk), Barley Malt Extract, Salt, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Palm Fat, Egg White Powder, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, Natural Vanilla Extract, Milk Chocolate contains Milk Solids 14% minimum.

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  1. As a kid in 1969, I responded to a Milky Way ad that promised that any purchaser of a “Funsize” bag of Milky Ways could get possession of their own 16 square foot plot of land located 351 miles south of the North Pole. I bought a bag, submitted the paperwork and received notification that such a plot was indeed mine. I was wondering if you still have the information of where that plot may be located?
    Bradford Wind Stone

  2. I’m having a very very hard time trying to find out where milky way candy bars are made. The bag says distributed from new jersey (not made in NJ)so where is it made, in china or mexico?????

  3. I honestly think im going crazy. Did milkyway in aus ever come with toys similar to kinda eggs. I think in the 90s or early 2000s

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