Milka is a brand of chocolate confection which originated in Switzerland in 1901 and has been manufactured internationally by the US confectionery company Mondelēz International (formerly known as Kraft Foods) since 1990. For more than 100 years, Milka has been primarily produced in Lörrach, Germany, producing about 140,000 tonnes of chocolate in 2012. It is sold in bars and a number of novelty shapes for Easter and Christmas. Milka also produces chocolate-covered cookies and biscuits. Milka brand’s name is derived from a portmanteau of the product’s two main ingredients: “MILch (milk) and KAkao (cocoa or chocolate).”
On November 17, 1825, SwisschocolatierPhilippe Suchard (1797–1884) established a pâtisserie in Neuchâtel where he sold a hand-made dessert, chocolat fin de sa fabrique. The following year, Suchard expanded his company and moved production to nearby Serrières, where he produced 25–30 kg of chocolate daily in a rented former water mill. During the 1890s, milk was added to Suchard's chocolate, closely following the launch of the Gala Peter brand, founded by Daniel Peter, another Swiss chocolatier.
In 1901, the first "Milka" chocolate was packaged in the distinctive lilac-colored packaging. Their products were introduced in Austria in the 1910s in order to spread popularity, and by 1913 the company was producing 18 times more chocolate than they did when at the original plant in 1880. By the 1920s Milka had introduced limited edition themed chocolates. Themes were related around holidays such as Christmas and Easter and had chocolate cast into the shape of Santa Claus, Christmas ornaments, Easter bunnies and various sizes of Easter eggs. By the 1960s the Milka script logo and its lilac packaging was trademarked, quickly becoming Germany’s number one chocolate. Over the next few decades, Milka chocolate enlarged in bigger portions and improved their selection of chocolate products.
In 1970, Suchard merged with Tobler to become Interfood. Interfood merged with the Jacobs coffee company in 1982, becoming Jacobs Suchard. Kraft Foods acquired Jacobs Suchard, including Milka, in 1990. In 1995 Milka officially became a ski sponsor and would later become one of the most famous sport sponsors after the FIS Alpine Cup that was held in Lienz. In October 2012, Kraft spun off its snack food division, which was renamed Mondelēz International. In 2016, they further expanded their market into China.
The brand's symbol is a purple cow with a bell around her neck, usually in an Alpine meadow. During the 1990s, Peter Steiner appeared in Milka commercials.
Milka has put focus on “tenderness” being their main advertising theme since the 1960s. In 1972, the Milka cow named Lila("Lila" being German for lilac, purple, violet.) became the face of their advertising campaigns and has remained so to the current day. Milka has sponsored many alpine skiing stars since 1995, including five World and Olympic champions. In 2015, Milka used a lilac-colored boat with Lila the mascot on it to tour the rivers of Germany and Austria during the summer. This boat was dubbed the “Muhboot” (pronounced Moo-boat), a pun on "U-Boot" (German for submarine).
Milka is sold in a number of packages and flavors, according to where it is purchased: