The Milky Way bar is a chocolate-covered candy bar manufactured and distributed by the Mars confectionery company. The American version of the Milky Way bar is made of chocolate-malt nougat topped with caramel and covered with milk chocolate and sold as the Mars bar everywhere else. The global Milky Way is a different chocolate candy bar similar to the American 3 Musketeers (chocolate bar).
The Milky Way bar was created in 1918 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.
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 US 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 European version of the bar has no caramel topping, and consists of a nougat center that is considerably lighter than that of the Mars bar. Because of 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 United Kingdom.
Originally available within Europe only in chocolate flavor, the center changed to vanilla flavor at around 1993, although 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 is identical to the old-style chocolate flavored Milky Way but only comes in twin packs. Also available in Europe are Milky Way Crispy Rolls, chocolate covered wafer rolls with a milk-cream filling.
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. Originally, every star was engraved with a different smiley face, each representing one of the magic star characters portrayed on the packaging. The characters were: Pop Star, Jess Star, Bright Star, Super Star, Twinkle Star, Falling Star, Happy Star, Sport Star, Clever Star and Baby Star. Recently, however, the characters and their respective engravings have been discontinued, possibly to lower production costs.
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 ITC 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 won't 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 originally aired in 1989. It featured a red car and a blue car 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 changes and sign changes.
Milky Way adverts in the 90s showed how light in weight the Milky Way bars were by showing that they floated on milk. Milky Ways still float on milk today, except for the USA version, which has caramel on the nougat, making it heavier than the worldwide version.
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