Science + Innovation
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Mars has been in business since 1911 — and we want to still be thriving another 100 years from now. How are we going to achieve this? Through scientific research and big-impact innovation.

Our scientists conduct fundamental research at the cutting edge of plant science, human and pet health and nutrition, food science, materials science, and computational science. Our innovation teams use applied science, not only to continuously improve our products, but also to improve all areas of our business, from our supply chains to engagement with consumers.

Forrest Mars, Sr. believed in a Mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders. Science and innovation is part of this Principle — sustainable growth for the business and addressing global challenges facing society, such as food security, health and nutrition. This isn’t something we can do on our own, which is why we believe in the power of collaboration.


Science and innovation are team sports — it is crucial to collaborate if you want to have a lasting impact.

For our scientists, it means sharing ideas, techniques, networks and funding. For example, we have been researching the positive effects of cocoa flavanol compounds on human health for more than 20 years, working with diverse organizations, such as the EU FLAVIOLA consortium, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School, and the National Institutes of Health.

We also have a much better chance at making a difference to global challenges, such as food insecurity and climate change, if we pool our resources and expertise in uncommon collaborations with other researchers, companies, NGOs, governments and the public. This is why we joined forces with the likes of IBM and the University of California, Davis to sequence the genome of the cacao tree and with Google and BGI to create the African Orphan Crops Consortium.

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Our scientists and collaborators pursue fundamental research in many disciplines, including plant science, veterinary science, nutrition and microbiology.

What do we mean by “fundamental research?” We test and improve scientific theories and our understanding of the world around us. For example, Mars opened the Global Food Safety Center in September 2015 with the sole aim of advancing global understanding of food safety science. Microbiologists, working in the center’s advanced facilities and with the center’s partners in government, academia and industry, are pioneering new techniques to understand the behavior of pathogens in the food supply chain.

Explore more about science at Mars.

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What is a moonshot? It’s an ambitious, long-term and ground-breaking innovation project. Being family-owned gives Mars the freedom to invest in this sort of “transformational” innovation, helping to solve long-term challenges — from securing a sustainable supply of raw materials to boosting agricultural productivity. Through these innovations, we can help make greater positive impacts on people, pets and the planet.

Mars established a Corporate Innovation function in 2013 to respond to this innovation objective. It is a flexible and interconnected organization, linked to a global network of top-class collaborators. It accelerates our ability to translate scientific discovery into large-scale, transformational innovation.

Our multidisciplinary project teams are working to secure raw material supply chains, sustainably improve agricultural productivity, adapt to climate change, and address malnutrition in developing countries. These focus areas are defined by the long-term moonshots that Mars, Incorporated has set, called our Grand Challenges. 

Discover innovation work at Mars.

Vice President of Corporate Research & Development, Dave Crean, addresses the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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