Recently I did a product comparison between two of my favorite candies – Hershey’s Kissables and Mars M & Ms. In doing research I ran across a lot of interesting information about those wonderful little candy coated delights that we know as M & Ms. Here are some of the most interesting facts:
Fact #1: Forrest Mars came up with the idea for M & Ms during the Spanish Civil War. He discovered that soldiers were looking for a taste of home, in the form of chocolate, but needed something that could withstand hot temperatures. Mars took their request as a challenge and eventually came up with the candy, which he packaged in heavy tubes. Soldiers today still love M & Ms because they can hold up in just about any climate.
Fact #2: The brown bag of regular M & Ms was developed in 1948 and didn’t change much over the years until 2003.
Fact #3: Peanut M & Ms (all in the color brown) weren’t developed until 1954.
Fact #4: M & Ms slogan “the milk chocolate melts in your mouth and not in your hand” is one of the most recognizable in advertising history.
Fact #5: Red, green, and yellow colors were added to peanut M & Ms in 1960, but orange wasn’t added until 1976.
Fact #6: Red M & Ms were discontinued in the mid-70’s because of concerns that red food coloring was connected to cancer.
Fact #7: In 1981, astronauts chose the round candy coated chocolates to go with them into space as part of their food rations.
Fact #8: A holiday blend of special colored M & Ms were developed in the early 80’s. The first blend was a mixture of red and green candies for Christmas. A mixture of pastel candies quickly followed that for Easter. Eventually, the special holiday line went on to add pink and red for Valentine’s Day.
Fact #9: Red M & Ms were brought back into the fold in 1987 when consumers demanded his return.
Fact #10: In the 90’s, two new flavors were developed – Peanut Butter Chocolate and Almond.
Fact #11: Consumers voted to choose a new color to be added to M & Ms. Although pink and purple were considered, it was blue who took home the prize and took its place in candy history.
Fact #12: M & Ms Baking Bits were developed in the mid-90’s so that bakers could use their favorite candies in their best dessert recipes. M & M Minis were also brought on board, packaged in colorful plastic tubes.
Fact #13: In 1996, the M & M characters were developed and quickly became a favorite; surpassing some of the most well known icons of all time like Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson.
Fact #14: Ms Green – – the first female M & M character – – was born in 1997.
Fact #15: In 1998 the M & Ms characters became self-professed spokes candies of the new Millennium since the Roman numerals MM means 2000.
Fact #16: M & Ms Crispy Chocolate Candies were introduced in 1999.
Fact #17: In 2001 M & Ms launched a global call for a new color to add to the M & M mix. Citizens of over 200 countries took part in the survey, which was conducted by ballot, phone, website, mail, and even on site at kiosks. The result wasn’t quite unanimous, but purple edged out aqua by four percentage points to become a temporary M & M color.
Fact #18: 2003 saw the design of a new package designed by renowned artist Michael Rios.
Fact #19: In 2004, M & Ms were invited to take part in Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. However, at midnight something horrible happened; the candies lost their color. Chocolate lovers all over the U.S. searched for two and a half months to locate color in the midst of all the black and white. On March 11, 2004, colors returned amidst a new proclamation that “Chocolate is better in color!”
Fact #20: You can purchase customized M & M’s in colors and sayings that you choose through the candy’s official website.
One of America’s favorite candies, M & Ms show no sign of slowing down in retail sales. The company’s innovative new concepts and interactive campaigns make sure that these candy-coated goodies remain a strong and central part of Americana.