American candy seller makes a fortune with whipped egg whites coated with milk chocolate

FORREST MARS SR. (1904-1999)

Forrest Mars Sr. was born in 1904 in Tacoma, Washington, the only son of Frank C. Mars, a candy seller who struggled to survive. When Forrest was six, his father remarried and the boy moved to his grandparents in Canada.

Here he got the idea to make his fortune with coal and he started studying mining in California. After his studies it turned out that his father had already gone bankrupt twice. And his new company, called Mar-0-Bar, was just as unpromising.

Frank had been trying to make a kind of dried milkshake since 1911. According to Forrest, he himself gave his father the idea for the famous bar. After some experimentation, a candy was created that consisted of beaten egg whites covered with a layer of caramel and coated with milk chocolate.

It was given the name Milky Way, as a bar of Mars is still called in the United States today, and it sold smoothly from a new factory in Chicago. It was also Frank who introduced Snickers, the peanut bar, in 1930.

Three Musketeers followed in 1932, three flavors in one bar: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

But things didn't work out between father and son. Industrial engineer Forrest felt that his father was running the company poorly and that the quality of the products was uneven. Frank also refused to make his son a shareholder.

In 1932, he gave him $50,000 and the foreign rights to the recipe for a bar of Mars.

According to the economic weekly Forbes, the farewell was not really cordial. Forrest would have said afterwards: I told my father to stick his business up his ass. The young engineer, 28 years old, left for Europe with his wife Audrey.

He briefly studied at Nestlé in Switzerland to be able to make European chocolate. He then rented premises in Slough near London, hired ten employees and simply named his product Mars. By the end of that year, Mars Confections Ltd already employed 100 people.

Two years later, he bought Chappel Brothers, a small British firm that made meat for dogs. Which immediately explains why Mars Inc. today has all kinds of pet food brands such as Kitekat, Pal, Pedigree, Cesar, Sheba and Whiskas.

In the same year 1934 Frank Mars died at the age of 50. His wife Ethel, Forrest's stepmother, took over the business, renaming it Ethel M. and refusing to give Forrest a share. The two clans fought bitterly over ownership for decades.

It was not until 1964, thirty years later, that the van Ethel family decided to sell its interests to Forrest.

Forrest launched the European Milky Way under the name 'Mars' in 1935 and Maltesers in 1936.

M&M's: Mars and Murrie scoops Although candy was rationed during the war, from the late 1930s British military personnel found plenty of bars of Mars in their emergency ration. Forrest's success surpassed that of his father. In 1939 he returned to the United States, where a year later he founded a factory for Mars & Murrie spheres: m&ms with occasional partner Bruce Murrie. While traveling along Spain's south coast during the Civil War there, he had seen soldiers eating chocolate granules covered with sugar icing. "Melt in the mouth, not in the hand."

Uncle Ben's

With the quick-earned capital, he teamed up in Houston in 1942 with Texan businessman Gordon Harwell, who wanted to put a British scholar's invention into improving rice on a large scale. The raw rice is then steamed.

Under pressure, the vitamins and minerals are driven from the husks, which are later removed, to the center of the grain. The converted rice produced in this way is more nutritious, has a longer shelf life and is less vulnerable to diseases.

All elements that made the food attractive to the US military. From 1943 to 1946, all rice produced went directly to the army canteens.

Bounties in production

After the war, Harwell and Mars sat together in a Chicago restaurant to make plans to bring their rice to the public market. During that dinner, they agreed on the name Uncle Ben's, after a legendary black rancher known in the Houston area for the quality of his rice. Since Uncle Ben himself was long dead, they asked the black mistress of the restaurant, Frank Brown, to pose for a photo on the package. The rice should have been called Uncle Frank's. Which also explains why a Texas rice farmer looks more like a maître d'hôtel with his bow tie. In any case, the new rice became the world's first commodity with its own brand name. Today it is also part of Mars Inc.

He retired to Miami, 113 Florida, where he died in 1999. Forrest had three children: Forrest Jr., John and Jacqueline. Forrest Jr. (b1931, four children) was sent to Veghel in the Netherlands in 1961, where he had to start a candy factory to serve the European mainland.

Three days before the opening, the factory burned down. The young Forrest had to toil for nine months to rebuild.

The hot-tempered Forrest Jr. is described as 'a mouth full of petrol looking for a flame'. John (b. 1936, two children) after his studies at Yale in 1958 was commissioned to set up an animal feed factory in Australia. Later he became internationally responsible for animal nutrition.

That sector currently accounts for an annual turnover of four billion dollars. John is also co-president today.

Jacqueline – married twice, three children from the first marriage – is vice president of Mars Inc. 'Jackie' made the scandal press in 1994 because her second husband wanted more money – 'a bigger bite out of Mars'.

mars inc. today calls itself the market leader in all main activities: confectionery, meal products, pet food, electronic payment systems and drink vending machines.