In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today.
A natural entrepreneur, Forrest Sr. began the geographic expansion and diversification of the Mars business. In 1935, Mars entered the pet care arena. In 1940, he founded the M&M’S® business in the United States, and in 1943 he entered the food business. Forrest E. Mars Sr. made the Washington, D.C., area the headquarters of his diversified company, Food Manufacturers, which eventually grew larger than the original confectionery business that his father had started. In the late 1960s, Forrest Sr. acquired the business founded by his father, which had been headquartered in Chicago since 1929. He named the combined company Mars, Incorporated. In 2008, Mars became a leader in gum and confections with the purchase of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and its world-famous brands such as EXTRA®, ORBIT®, DOUBLEMINT®, and 5® chewing gums, and confectionery brands ALTOIDS® and LIFE SAVERS®.
In the decades Forrest Sr. led the business, he demonstrated his belief that a company can only endure and thrive if it is creating mutual benefits for all those involved — through the way he ran the business and in his documentation of this Mars business principle. The next generation of the Mars family, Forrest E. Mars Jr., John F. Mars and Jacqueline Badger Mars, led the globalization of Mars, Incorporated. They also carried forward the cultural foundation established by their father with the articulation of Mars Five Principles: Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. These themes continue to be deeply woven into the fabric of the Mars culture, its operations and its long-term view. Today, the stewards of these principles include the Mars family and thousands of Mars Associates.
Led by non-family management since 2001 and headquartered in McLean, Virginia, in the United States, Mars continues to prosper as a Principles-based business. Today, Mars has annual sales of more than US$30 billion, and every day over 70,000 Associates are putting the Five Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through performance.
Read more about the history of Mars, Incorporated and our Five Principles.