Forrest E. Mars: The Candy Man

For this special episode Tracy Marak, member of the Belle Toffee family, is my guest. She shares the Belle Toffee story and tries her best to distinguish fact or fiction as I tell a mostly-true story about another candy maker, Forrest E. Mars.

Although this story doesn’t fit neatly into the true crime category, Forrest Mars’ road to ownership of Mars, Inc. wasn’t a smooth one and it certainly wasn’t sweet. Today, the Mars, Inc. is one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and Forrest’s descendent are among the world’s richest citizens.

Listen to learn how Forrest Mars achieved his success, but remember that one fiction has been inserted into the story. Will Tracy guess the fiction? Will you? It’s tricky to know if something is Fact or Fiction? Ready to play?

Image of Forrest Mars, Sr.
Forrest E. Mars was the businessman behind the success of Mars, Inc. Wikimedia Commons
MRE military food kit including M&M's
In WWII, M&M’s were included in US soldiers’s mealkits. this image from 2007 shows some MREs still include them. Wikimedia Commons
Image of Frank Mars
Frank Mars was the father of Forrest Mars, and the original owner of Mars, Inc. in the US.
Image of Ethel Mars, Frank's second wife
Ethel Mars was the second wife of Frank Mars and the stepmother of Forrest Mars.
Image of European Smarties chocolate candy-coated discs.
Forrest Mars encountered Smarties when he was in Europe in the late 1930s. These chocolate disks encased in a hard-candy shell inspired him to create M&M’s. Wikimedia Commons
Halloween Ad for Mars, Inc. candies
In 1962, the Bridgeport Telegram ran this Halloween ad for Mars, Inc. candies.
Image of Uncle Ben's rice ad from 1951
This 1951 advertisement is for converted rice, a product sold by Food Products Manufacturing, another business owned by Forrest Mars.
Image of a candy bar
The Mars bar was the flagship candy for Frank’s Mars, Inc. Forrest sold the same bar in Europe under the name Milky Way. Wikimedia Commons
Order Belle Toffee from their website and have it delivered to your home!
Image of Belle Toffee


Cadbury, Deborah. (2010) Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World’s Greatest Chocolate Makers. Public Affairs.

Clayman, Andrew. (n. d.) Mars Inc., est. 1911. Made in Chicago Museum. Retrieved from

Kaplan, D & Adamo, M. (2013, February 4). Inside Mars. Fortune. Retrieved from

Fortune Editors (2013, March 31). The Sweet, Secret World of Forrest Mars (Fortune, 1967). Retrieved from

Mars Overview. (n. d.) Retrieved April 10 from,largest%20chewing%20gum%20maker%20Wm

McKnight, Marshall. (2002, September 30). A Clandestine Company Creeps Out of its Shell. NJBiz, pp. 10 – 11.

Serena, Katie. (2020, March 17). The History of M&M’s Isn’t As Sweet As You Think It Is. Retreived from


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