The $35 billion chocolate giant Mars was once notoriously private. Here's why the company is now speaking out.

  • Mars Inc makes some of the most popular candies in the world, including Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Way, and Twix. The company also makes Pedigree, Uncle Ben’s rice, and other food brands.
  • Mars, a 106-year-old company with $US35 billion in annual sales, has historically tried to stay out of the public eye.
  • But during the last few years, the Mars family and company executives have started to speak out.
  • One reason they have started to be more outspoken is that consumers want more transparency from the companies that make their products.

Mars – the company behind brands like M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix – has been around for more than 100 years. And for most of its history, it has been notoriously private, shying away from the public eye.

But during the last few years, the Mars family and company executives have started to speak out. They have started to make this shift, at least in part, because consumers are starting to care more about where products come from than they had in the past.

“For most of our history, in fact … for 99% of our history, we’ve chosen not to be in the public eye and we’ve really wanted our brands to engage consumers. And yet times have changed,” Mars chairman Stephen Badger said.

“Consumers do want to know more about not only the brands that they’re buying, but the company that is behind them,” Badger, who is also the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Franklin Mars, said.

Badger is right. A recent study by Label Insight, which surveyed 2,000 consumers, found that 94% of respondents would be more loyal to a brand if it offered complete transparency.

“Current and future associates really want to know the company that they’re working for.” Badger said. “What is the vision of this company? What does it stand for?”

But it’s not just a shift in consumer behaviour that convinced the company to be more public. Mars is also speaking out because it wants to attract talent, and workers increasingly want to work for companies that have a strong mission.

“There are a range of issues that are very serious facing the world and that are a direct threat to our business if not addressed, as well as a threat to the planet overall. So whether that is issues like climate change or labour issues in our supply chain or diversity and inclusion or health and well-being, these are really key issues that are significant challenges as well as opportunities to our business,” Badger said.

“We feel a responsibility to do our part in addressing them and part and parcel of being able to do that is to speak publicly about our stance on these issues and hopefully enroll others to work with us in a coalition to address them.”

Read more about what Mars has planned for the future:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.