The True Inspiration Behind Milky Way Candy Bars

If you've ever been to the movies, or the candy aisle at any store, you've probably come into contact with the Milky Way bar. Made simply of chocolate, caramel, and malted milk nougat filling, the Milky Way is a classic candy that is manufactured by the candy company, Mars. According to MilkyWay, the Milky Way bar is the oldest Mars chocolate bar brand that is still on the market, so it must be beloved. 

According to NorthLoop, the candy bar was first invented in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the early 1920s and was a cost-effective way to sell candy. At the time, creating a malted milk filling was a cheap way to fill a candy bar and required much less chocolate than a solid chocolate bar. For company patriarch, Frank C. Mars, the success of Milky Way came after decades of struggling as a candy maker and one can imagine it was a welcome reprieve.

Per NorthLoop, people often mistakenly believe that the Milky Way candy bar is named after the galaxy, which would make sense given the parent company's name of Mars. The truth is that the name actually came from a treasured family past time in the Mars family.

A sweet pasttime

During the early part of the 20th century, malted milk or malted milkshakes were becoming popular at soda fountains, and the Mars company capitalized on this trend. They advertised their candy bar as having more malted milk than a double malted milkshake, per Snack History.

As for where the name originated? According to MilkyWay, the snack was named after a popular malted milkshake at the time. NorthLoop explains that Frank Mars' son Forrest would spend time talking with his father over milkshakes, and even though they were not particularly close — Forrest was born during Frank's first failed marriage — this time they spent together at the soda fountain kept them bonded. Forrest Mars claims to be the one who came up with the name for the candy bar.

Snack History notes that by 1929 the Milky Way had become the most popular candy bar in the United States, and the company had moved to Chicago. Later, the company released other classic treats like Snickers and M&Ms. Now is that a sweet story or what?