Archive for April, 2008

Ovaltine VS Milo

When I was shopping at Shop N Save at Tampines Mart last week, I realised that the prices of almost all items have gone up tremendously. Even the 3-1 Milo pack (my children reminded me to replenish it) has gone up in price. This led me to compare the prices between Milo and Ovaltine (as I used to substitute Coke with Pepsi)…Ovaltine is cheaper by about 50cents and comes with a free premium game!

After I reached home, I started to think – Ovaltine or Milo, which is ‘older’? I mean which product was marketed first?

I remember when I was very young and staying with my Godmother’s family at Beatty Road, she used to make ‘O val tin Kar Dan’ (Cantonese) for me, which is breaking an raw egg into a cup of very hot Ovaltine. My first contact with Milo was maybe in mid Primary (probably Pri. 3 or 4), when I was told to draw a tin of Milo and color it with poster color. So I guess should be Ovaltine first then Milo….hehe.

Below shows the old Milo tin that I used to draw for my art lesson;

OK, let’s do some research;


Started in : 1865

Country of Origin : Switzerland but first manufactured in Britain

Meaning of Name Ovaltine : Oval means Egg

How It Started : In 1865, George Wander set up his own laboratory in Bern (Switzerland) . There he produced a malt extract which for decades was to provide a vital food supplement for children and sick people. When he died, his son Albert, a pharmacist and chemist, worked to improve the product, adding other natural energizing ingredients to the malt extract. In 1904, Ovaltine was born.

Invented by George Wander originally as “Ovo-Maltine” in Switzerland – a fortified barley powdered egg malted-milk beverage. His son’s Albert had it produced in Britain but the British spelt it wrongly and thus the name “Ovaltine”. It was later that cocoa was added to it and thus the current Ovaltine! Read more about it here.

Product : Sold as nourishing bedtime drink

Look at the billboard ad along New Bridge Road in the 60s;

Photo Credit above :

How a 1921 Ovaltine tin looked like;

A 1961 Ovaltine ad;


Started in : 1934

Country of Origin : Australia

Meaning of Name Milo : Derived its name from MILON (600 BC), a champion athlete of ancient Greek mythology. He was renowned for his feats of strengths.

How It Started : Invented by Thomas Mayne, an industrial chemist working at a Nestlé factory in Australia. The product was launched in 1934.

Product : Sold as tonic food drink

Below shows an old advertisement in 1940 (Straits Times);

Credit : SPH, Straits Times

If you can’t see clearly how a 1940 Milo tin looked like, here it is in color (the top tin);

Credit : Nestle

Many uses of such Ovatine and Milo tins such as storing of money as ‘piggy bank’. The Milo tin was usually used as kinda ‘cash register’ in some old shops.

You can find this Milo tin hanging as a ‘cash register’ in this shop even in the 90s;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

You may find Milo ads in most sports competition;

Credit : SPH, Straits Times

Below shows an Ovaltine signboard in a shop (1986);

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Now both Ovaltine and Milo have undergone many changes in packaging, product types and taste as well. It seems that Milo are more aggressive in advertising especially in the sports arena as you can see on the Milo tin itself. Did Ovaltine still comes in tin form now???

So which one do you prefer Ovaltine or Milo? My kids prefer Milo – don’t know why?



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April 2008