Life in Mars: Some facts

* Frank Mars launched chocolate and nougat bar, Milky Way in the US in 1923. He gave his son Forrest Snr $50,000 and the foreign rights to market the brand, which was launched in the UK and renamed the Mars bar. It was produced at a factory in Slough from August 1932. A different product, which included nougat, was launched in the UK in 1935 and named Milky Way. This is why visitors to the US will get a Mars bar when they ask for a Milky Way. Maltesers was launched in 1936.

* Forrest Mars Snr only took control of his father’s company in 1964. Frank Mars had died in 1934 and the US company moved into the hands of his mother’s family.

* Forrest Snr bought a small British canned dogfood manufacturer, Chappel Brothers, in 1934, which later became Pedigree Petfoods.

* In 1942 Forrest Snr teamed up with a Texas businessman to launch easy-cook rice and branded it Uncle Ben’s.

* In 1939 Forrest Snr took a recipe from southern Spain for sugar candy coated chocolate that didn’t melt in the sun. M&Ms became his first launch confectionery in the US market. He teamed up with the son of rival chocolate food manufacturer, Hershey president R Bruce Murrie (hence M&Ms).

* In 1973 Forrest Snr turned over full ownership of his business to his three children, and set up a new luxury confectionery company in Las Vegas.

* Joint chief executives John and Forrest and sister Jacqueline, the vice president, punch in for work. They share one secretary between them. All employees are called “associates”.

* John Mars looks after the petfood side of the business, and Forrest Jnr looks after the confectionery side.

* A Pedigree brand manager was presented with a dog rather than a company car when he joined the firm.

* According to inside sources, a well-known advertising agency figure was forced by the brothers to eat dogfood during the worldwide pitch.

* Mars is almost entirely debt-free, using its own cash to finance expansion into new markets.


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