Companies

Description

Mars is an American multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services, with US$40 billion in annual sales in 2020. It was ranked as the 6th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, United States, the company is entirely owned by the Mars family. Mars operates in five business segments around the world: Mars Wrigley Confectionery (headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with US headquarters in Hackettstown and Newark, New Jersey), Petcare (Zaventem, Belgium; Poncitlán and Jalisco, Mexico; Querétaro, Mexico), Food (Rancho Dominguez, California), Drinks (West Chester, Pennsylvania), and Symbioscience (Germantown, Maryland), the company's life sciences division.

History

Mars is a company known for the confectionery items that it creates, such as Mars bars, Milky Way bars, M&M's, Skittles, Snickers, and Twix. They also produce non-confectionery snacks, such as Combos, and other foods, including Ben's Original, and pasta sauce brand Dolmio, as well as pet foods, such as Pedigree, Whiskas, Nutro and Royal Canin brands.

Orbit gum is among the most popular brands, managed by the Mars subsidiary brand Wrigley. During World War II, Wrigley was selling their eponymous gum only to soldiers, while Orbit was sold to the public. Though abandoned shortly after the war, about 30 years later Orbit made a comeback in America during the chewing gum craze.

Franklin Clarence Mars, whose mother taught him to hand dip candy, sold candy by age 19. He started the Mars Candy Factory in 1911 with Ethel V. Mars, his second wife, in Tacoma, Washington. This factory produced and sold fresh candy wholesale, but ultimately the venture failed because there was a better established business, Brown & Haley, also operating in Tacoma. By 1920, Mars had returned to his home state, Minnesota, where the earliest incarnation of the present day Mars company was founded that year as Mar-O-Bar Co., in Minneapolis and later incorporated there as Mars, Incorporated.

Forrest Mars, Sr., son of Frank and his first wife, Veronica, was inspired by a popular type of milkshake in 1923, to introduce the Milky Way bar, advertised as a "chocolate malted milk in a candy bar", which became the best-selling candy bar. In 1929, Frank moved the company to Bakersfield, California and started full production in a plant which still exists today. In 1930, Frank Mars created the Snickers bar and first sold it in US markets. In 1932, Mars introduced the 3 Musketeers bar. The same year, Forrest started Mars Limited in the United Kingdom and launched the Mars bar.

Mars moved its headquarters to McLean, Virginia, in 1984. It is still a family business owned by the Mars family. The company is famous for its secrecy. A 1993 Washington Post Magazine article was a rare raising of the veil, as the reporter was able to see the "M"s being applied to the M&M's, something that "no out-sider had ever before been invited to observe". In 1999, for example, the company did not acknowledge that Forrest Mars, Sr. had died or that he had worked for the company.

Mars' purchase of Doane Petcare Company in June 2007 significantly increased Mars' position in the U.S. dry pet food category. In addition to these businesses, Mars also operates a chain of premium chocolate shops called Ethel M Chocolates. These shops are an outgrowth of the Ethel M premium chocolate business that Forrest Mars started in Las Vegas in 1980, when he became bored with retirement.

In 2008, Mars and theBelGroup has conducted research study which resulted in resurrecting the famous Mars slogan “Work, Rest & Play”. Packaged and led global launch of Mars Refuel Sports drink. Initiated and implemented sponsorship programme “The Mars Refuel Drink Fund”. 

On April 28, 2008, Mars, Incorporated, together with Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated, announced the buyout of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, the world's largest chewing gum producer, for $23 billion in an all-cash deal. The two companies together generate sales in excess of $30 billion.

The company published its Principles in Action communication in September 2011. This communication outlines the history of Mars, its legacy as a business committed to its Five Principles, and the company's goal of putting its Principles into action to make a difference to people and the planet through performance. Encompassing themes of Health and Nutrition, Supply Chain, Operations, Products, and Working at Mars, the Principles in Action communication outlines Mars Incorporated's targets, progress, and ongoing challenges. It also describes its businesses, including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience.

The company spent more than $1.8 million on lobbying during 2008, almost all of it at Patton Boggs, where it has long been one of the largest lobbying clients. Mars also spent $10,000 at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In 2009, Mars also hired Ernst & Young to lobby on corporate and international tax issues, including issues related to tax changes proposed by the Obama administration. The company spent another $1,655,000 that year.

In 2014, Mars opened a new $270 million chocolate plant in Topeka, Kansas, the first new plant in the US in 35 years.

In 2016, Mars announced the merger of its chocolate and Wrigley segments to form a new subsidiary, appropriately called Mars Wrigley Confectionery.

In 2017, the company's confectionery segment announced a return to its roots, and opened a new office in Newark, New Jersey.

In May 2020, Mars filed a lawsuit against JAB Holding over claims that Jacek Szarzynski, a former JAB Holding executive stole various confidential documents and passed them to the owner of Pret A Manger and Panera Bread. According to the lawsuit, over 6,000 Mars internal documents, including detailed financial results, strategic planning documents, and potential acquisition targets, were illegally downloaded.

In the United States, the company has 22 manufacturing facilities in Hackettstown, New Jersey; Albany, Georgia; Burr Ridge, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; and Mattoon, Illinois; Cleveland, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Greenville, Mississippi; Greenville and Waco, Texas; Henderson and Reno, Nevada; Fort Smith, Arkansas; Joplin, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Miami, Oklahoma; and Galena, Kansas. Their newest facility is situated in Topeka, Kansas. Their Canadian facilities are located in Bolton and Newmarket, Ontario.

In November 2020, Mars acquired full ownership of snack food company Kind North America for $5 billion.

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