Mars United Kingdom

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Key Facts

  • First factory opened in 1932

  • Five business segments: Chocolate, Petcare (including Fishcare and Horsecare), Food, Wrigley and Drinks

  • More than 4,000 Associates

  • Nine factories and 10 offices


  • London M&M World store opened in 2011

Mars in The United Kingdom

In 1932, Forrest E. Mars Sr. established Mars in the United Kingdom by opening our Slough factory and launching the original MARS® bar. Today, the factory still produces MARS® bars along with many other chocolate brands, including SNICKERS®, GALAXY®, MINSTRELS®, MALTESERS® and REVELS®.

In 1935, we diversified into pet food and moved these operations to Melton Mowbray in 1951. We turned to food production in 1963, opening a food factory in King’s Lynn, where we produce UNCLE BEN’S® rice and DOLMIO® sauces.

We bought Thomas’ in Birstall in 1968 (now known as Mars Care & Treats), which is now the European head office for this part of our business. In 1974, we opened a wet pet food factory in Peterborough, followed by a new national Petcare office in 1981 in Waltham, next to the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition. Our major pet food brands in the U.K. include WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, SHEBA® and CESAR®.

We also have several horse care brands, including SPILLERS® and WINERGY®, which form Mars Horsecare U.K. Ltd., based in Milton Keynes.

We moved into catering and vending in 1955 with the launch of Vendepac vending machines. We opened our drinks vending business in Basingstoke, U.K. in the 1970s, which now produces our KLIX® technology and packs the drinks served through our KLIX® and FLAVIA® machines.

Wrigley, which has a long and proud history in the U.K. dating back to 1911, began operating as a subsidiary of Mars in 2008. Wrigley produces brands including EXTRA®, AIRWAVES® and HUBBA BUBBA®at our factory in Plymouth.

Principles in Action

Mars U.K. is committed to sourcing its raw materials responsibly and has made significant steps toward using certified ingredients in a number of our brands. Our Chocolate business achieved Rainforest Alliance certification for the cocoa in GALAXY® in 2010, and achieved Mars’ first Fairtrade certification for MALTESTERS® in 2012. In 2011, our Petcare segment launched its first pet food varieties containing fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

We are also taking action to make our operations more sustainable, with commitments to reduce energy, water, packaging, transport emissions and waste. By the end of 2010, our U.K. Chocolate and Drinks manufacturing sites had achieved zero production waste to landfill, followed in 2011 by our Petcare and Wrigley manufacturing sites. As part of this effort, our Wrigley site in Plymouth diverts effluent waste from the factory to a local biofuel plant, which uses it to create green electricity, and the Mars Food site at Kings Lynn diverted more than 300 tonnes of waste from landfill in 2011 using anaerobic digestion.

In 2011, we signed the Public Health Responsibility Deal, a U.K. Government initiative to improve public health. Mars Food U.K. has reduced salt content across its product portfolio, with 90 percent of products meeting the Responsibility Deal’s 2012 salt targets and 94 percent of our pasta sauces already meeting the 2012 targets. In 2011 we launched DOLMIO® Bolognese sauces with 100 percent natural ingredients. We have also launched UNCLE BEN'S® RICE TIME and DOLMIO PASTAVITA pots to provide healthy ready meals for eating at any time or place. Many of our popular bars, such as Snickers®, Mars®, and Milky Way®, have reduced their saturated fat content and meet our target to not exceed 250 calories per portion. Learn more about our calorie goals in the Targets and Progress section at the top of this page.

We believe that good health is good business and raise awareness of the importance of healthy, active lifestyles among Associates. Our acclaimed “Winning with Wellness” Associate well-being program has been so successful that in 2010 it partnered with the U.K. Government’s “Change4Life” program. During 2011, we rolled out the program to other local businesses in Slough as part of the Government’s “Health and Well-Being Local Business Partnership” pilot program.

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