The Mars chocolate company is known for successes such as M&Ms and Twix, but one of its first chocolate bars was the Milky Way. Ever since its release, the Milky Way bar has thrived in the candy world and created countless knock-offs---as well as a few spin-offs of its own. The history of the Milky Way bar proves how a simple formula can continue to work decades after it was first introduced.
The Milky Way bar was invented in 1923 and counts as its inspiration the milk shakes that were popular at the time. The original Milky Way featured the same ingredients it still does today---a chocolate-nougat base topped with caramel, all surrounded by milk chocolate. The Milky Way has two varieties, the vanilla Milky Way and the chocolate Milky Way.
In 1936, the vanilla Milky Way was branded as the "Forever Yours" chocolate bar. In 1979 it was discontinued as the Milky Way continued to thrive. But customer demand led to the Forever Yours returning in 1989 with the Milky Way name back in the title. Today, the vanilla Milky Way is known as Milky Way Midnight.
But the caramel, nougat and milk-chocolate mix known so well in the U.S. is unknown in Russia, Germany and Ireland, where the caramel is omitted. In addition, the countries feature a light- and dark-chocolate variety.
The success of the Milky Way chocolate bar has led to several spin-offs. The Milky Way ice cream bar replaces the nougat with a vanilla-ice-cream centre, while Milky Way Crisp Rolls are exclusively available in the United Kingdom and feature wafer rolls with Milky Way ingredients. Australia is home to fruit-flavoured Milky Way bars, including strawberry and banana.
Throughout its 80-plus-year history, the Milky Way bar has employed a long variety of ad slogans. They include "Comfort in every bar," "The sweet you can eat between meals---without ruining your appetite" and "At work, rest and play, you get three great tastes in a Milky Way." Print ads also feature a broken Milky Way with a string of caramel connecting the pieces.