Was Milky Way Really Supposed To Be Named 3 Musketeers?

Chocolate is a universal language. There is no question people love the sweet, creamy treat, especially on Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter. According to a 2020 study conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), approximately 95% of men and women planned to buy candy as a tradition for the spooky holiday. GOBankingRates broke that percentage down even further, reporting that Americans were projected to spend $27.55 per person on Halloween candy. Yes, chocolate candy-making is serious business, and chocolate enthusiasts are pretty vocal when it comes to their favorite candy bars. In the survey, Milky Way and 3 Musketeers are two brands rounding out the top 10. 

OldTimeCandy.com describes the American version of a Milky Way bar as having a caramel and smooth nougat center covered in rich milk chocolate. However, the European Milky Way is very similar to the fluffy candy bar we've come to know and love as 3 Musketeers. Both have a creamy chocolate nougat. If you may be wondering, the whipped ingredients comprising the nougat gives some candy bars, such as Milky Way and 3 Musketeers, their soft, chewy consistency and texture. But, as Candyrageous blog notes, the major difference between the European Milky Way and 3 Musketeers is that the European version has a more chocolate malt taste. Perhaps that explains the claims that Milky Way and 3 Musketeers' names and labels were accidentally switched when they were both released on the same day. But is it true?

This is the delicious history of Milky Way and 3 Musketeers bars

While the name-switching legend makes for a fascinating origin story, according to Snopes, it simply isn't true. But it's easy to see how people could buy into the theory that packagers were confused by the labels when the bars were released. After all, Milky Way and 3 Musketeers do have similar ingredients on their respective labels, and they are both made by the Mars Company. They each have a chocolate nougat and covering, with the only exception being the American Milky Way's caramel topping in its gooey center. 

But, as Snopes explained in debunking the claim of the label misnomer, the two bars weren't even released in the same year, much less the same day. Mars Company released the Milky Way bar in 1923 and introduced 3 Musketeers bars nine years later in 1932. Also, per OldTimeCandy.com, 3 Musketeers originally included three bars containing the Neapolitan flavor combination of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate (thus its name). Eventually, the Mars Company nixed the strawberry and vanilla bars, as well as Alexandre Dumas' famed literary characters on the packaging, and kept it as a single bar made of an airy chocolate nougat and covering. Milky Way, on the other hand, has remained the same as a single bar with three ingredients: chocolate, nougat, and caramel. 

So rest assured, the chocolate bars, as you see them in the candy aisle, are labeled accurately with their given names.