M and ms

This article is about the candy. For other uses, see M&M (disambiguation).

Introduced 1941
Related brands Minstrels, Smarties, Revels, Skittles, Treets
Markets Worldwide (over 100 countries)[1]

M&M's are "colorful button-shaped candies"[1] produced by Mars, Incorporated. The candy shells, each of which has the letter "m" printed in lower case on one side, surround a variety of fillings, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, crisped rice, mint chocolate, peanuts, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry, cinnamon, raspberry, and peanut butter. M&M's originated in the United States in 1941, and are now sold in as many as 100 countries.[1] They are produced in different colors, some of which have changed over the years.


History 1941-1979

Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the founder of the Mars Company Frank C. Mars, invented the idea for the candy in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting. Mars received a patent for his own process on March 3, 1941.[2] Production began in 1941 in a factory located at 285 Badger Avenue in Clinton Hill, Newark, New Jersey. When the company was originally founded it was M&M Limited.[3] The two "M's" represent the names of Forrest E. Mars Sr., the founder of Newark Company and Bruce Murrie (son of Hershey's Chocolate president William F. R. Murrie)[4] who had a 20 percent share in the product. The arrangement allowed the candies to be made with Hershey chocolate which had control of the rationed chocolate at the time.[5]

The practicality of the candies during World War II caused an increase in production and its factory moved to bigger quarters at 200 North 12th Street in Newark, New Jersey where they remained until 1958 when it moved to a bigger factory at Hackettstown, New Jersey. During the war, the candies were exclusively sold to the military.[3]

In 1950, a black "M" was imprinted on the candies giving them a unique trademark. It was changed to white in 1954.[3]

In the early 1950s, the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, working for M&M's, perfected a process whereby 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg) of chocolate centers could be coated every hour.[6] Peanut M&M's were introduced in 1954, but first appeared only in the color tan. When peanut M&M's made their debut, so did the tagline 'Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.' In 1960, M&M's added the yellow, red, and green colors.

History 1980-present

In 1980, M&M's were introduced internationally to Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.[7]

Although they were marketed and then withdrawn in the 1960s, almond-centered M&M's hit stores again in 1988 in limited release, with appearances only during Christmas and Easter times; they became a standard part of the product line in 1992.

Also in 1986, M&M's launched HOLIDAYS Chocolate Candies for Easter and Christmas, with the Easter candies having bunny, chick, and egg symbols on pastel-colored shells, and the Christmas candies having pine tree and candle symbols on red and green shells; with the latter also having a special Mint flavor. By 1993, the holiday symbols were replaced with the trademark "M".

In 1991, Peanut Butter M&M's were released. These candies have peanut butter inside the chocolate center and the same color scheme as the other brands. As of at least 2013, the size of the peanut butter M&M has become slightly smaller.

In 1996, Mars introduced "M&M's Minis", smaller candies usually sold in plastic tubes instead of bags.[8]

In 1999, Crispy M&M's were released. They were slightly larger than the milk chocolate variety and featured a crispy wafer center. They were discontinued in the United States in 2005. They are still available in Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

In July 2001, Dulce de Leche M&M's were introduced in five markets with large Hispanic populations: Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA, Miami, FL, Mcallen-Brownsville, TX, and San Antonio, TX.[9] The flavor never became popular with the Hispanic community, who preferred existing M&M's flavors, and it was discontinued in most areas by early 2003.[10]

In 2010, Pretzel M&M's were released. They contain a crunchy, salty pretzel center inside of the chocolate coating, and are about the same size as the Peanut M&M's, but their shape tends to be more spherical.

In 2013, the M&M's chocolate bar was re-released. It was originally released in 2004, and named M-Azing.

Marketing of M&Ms

Imaginative marketing has helped build the M&Ms brand and create something of a "cult following" for the candy. Computer-animated graphics, personification of the candies with cartoon-like story-telling, and clever merchandising techniques have done much to increase brand recognition and cement brand loyalty.

Marketing campaigns to "build the brand"

In 1990, an M&M's exhibit at New York's Erie County Fair, promoting the company's nutrition awareness campaign, became the precursor to Cow Parade, the whimsical phenomenon where municipalities and museums display decorated cattle at convenient traffic intersections. The M&M's display was a life-size fiberglass cow covered with 66,000 M&M candies; each adhered by hand with the "m" logo on each candy facing outward. Candy the Cow was the first-ever candy decorated bovine, and earned M&M Mars $1 million in free publicity. The chocolate marvel, created by designer Michael Adams, was reported on by Newsweek magazine ("udderly amazing") as well as the New York Post, UPI and WABC-TV. Candy then appeared as a live "guest" on Live with Regis, where Regis Philbin "interviewed" her and affirmed the nutritional value of milk chocolate.[11]

In 1998, M&M's were styled as "The Official Candy of the New Millennium," since MM is the Roman numeral for 2000.

In 2000, "Plain" M&M's (a name introduced in 1954 when Peanut M&M's were introduced) were renamed "Milk Chocolate" M&M's, and pictures of the candy pieces were added to the traditional brown and white packaging.[12][13] The new millennium brought about new M&M's video games as well. "M&M's: The Lost Formulas" was released on September 28, 2000,[14] and "M&M's: Mini Madness" was also released on December 14, 2000.[15]

Joint marketing campaigns

In 1990, Mars Snackfood US signed up to be a sponsor for NASCAR. Drivers for the M&M car through the years have included Ernie Irvan, Ken Schrader, Eliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, David Gilliland, Kyle Busch, and Michael McDowell.

In April 2005, M&M's ran the "mPire" promotion to tie in with the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith movie release. M&M's were offered in dark chocolate varieties (Regular and Peanut) for the first time after a string of Addams Family M&M's commercials.

In May 2004, M&M's ran a Shrek 2 promotion to tie in with the movie's release. M&M's were offered "ogre-sized" (65% larger) in swamp/ogre colors. They were sold at many stores displayed in huge cardboard cutout ogre displays.

In the summer of 2005, Mars added "Mega M&M's" to the lineup.[16] These candies, at 55% larger than the traditional M&M's, were a little smaller than the ogre-sized version. They were available in milk chocolate and peanut varieties. The colors for Mega M&M's were changed to less-bright colors: teal (replacing green), beige (replacing orange), maroon (replacing red), gold (replacing yellow), blue-gray (replacing blue), and brown to appeal to a more adult consumer.

In July 2006, Dark Chocolate M&M's reappeared in a purple package, followed in 2007 by Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's. Also in 2006, the company piloted White Chocolate M&M's as a tie-in with their Pirates of the Caribbean promotion. The company also offered eight new flavors of M&M's via online sales, as well as at M&M's World locations: "All That Razz"; "Eat, Drink, & Be Cherry"; "A Day at the Peach"; "Orange-U-Glad"; "Mint Condition"; "AlmonDeeLicious"; "Nut What You Think" and "Cookie Minster". Mars also released a "Crispy Mint" variety in Australia that year.

Also in 2006, M&M's became the official chocolate of NASCAR.

In 2007, M&M's introduced a limited-edition raspberry flavor called "M&M's Razzberry Chocolate Candies."

Also in 2007, M&M's produced a 50-foot, smiling Lady Liberty M&M statue to kick off a campaign encouraging Americans to create their own M&M characters at mms.com. The website allows for people to log in and create their own character from scratch. They choose everything from the color and shape to hair and accessories.

In 2008, two new limited-edition varieties of the candy were introduced – "Wildly Cherry" M&M's, and, as a marketing tie-in with the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, "Mint Crisp" M&M's.

M&M's also introduced another new product called "M&M's Premiums" in 2008. They come in five flavors – chocolate almond, mint chocolate, mocha, raspberry almond and triple chocolate (milk, dark, and white chocolate), which are sold in small upright cartons with a plastic bag inside. M&M's Premiums do not have a candy shell, but are coated with carnauba wax and color. Dark Chocolate was added in 2009, replacing Mocha.

During summer of 2008, My M&M's launched 'Faces,' which allows consumers to print the faces of loved ones on M&M's chocolate candies at mymms.com.

In February 2009, M&M's launched the "M&M’s Colour Break-Up" promotion in Australia where M&M's were sold in separate packs (one for each color): the packs included a code to win prizes.[17]

In Summer 2009, M&M's launched a limited-edition "Strawberried Peanut Butter" variant to tie in with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In addition, M&M's launched a limited edition "Coconut M&M's," which became a permanent item in 2010.

In early 2010, M&M's Bare All were released as part of a competition in Australia and New Zealand.

In November 2011, Mars released M & M's Cinnamon Milk Chocolate for Christmas.

About the time pretzel M&M's came out, the M&M's wrapper designs in the U.S. were redone, from the old design, used from 2004-early 2010.

2012 M&M's release two new Dark Chocolate flavors, Raspberry and Mint. Also in 2012, M&M's released a White Chocolate flavor for the Easter season. From May 30, 2012 onwards, M&M's will be launched in Macau. Its Macanese launch language is Portuguese. From May 2012, for an unspecified time, Peanut M&M's were produced in the UK in a limited edition "Red, White and Blues only" pack, in connection with the country's Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Olympics. The trademark 'M' remains white on the white candies. The commercial promoting this promotional package has Yellow donning various outfits of British stereotypes to try and get into the limited edition pack.

Related brands

Related candy brands from Mars include Minstrels, Revels, Skittles, and Treets.

M&M's World specialty shops have been established in some locations, including Las Vegas, New York and London.

Several M&Ms-themed video games have been created.

Related products

Cadbury Gems are a version of M&M's produced in India by Cadbury India. They contain chocolate centers and come in a variety of colours, and have nothing printed on them.

M&M's characters

Concurrent with the Blue M&M campaign, M&M's introduced computer animated "spokescandies" in their television commercials. These include the team of the cynical and sardonic Red (originally voiced by Jon Lovitz, thereafter Billy West[21]) who is the mascot for milk chocolate M&M's, and the happy and gullible Yellow (originally John Goodman, thereafter J.K. Simmons), who is the mascot for peanut M&M's. Other mascots include the "cool one", Blue (Phil Hartman, thereafter Robb Pruitt) who is the mascot for almond M&M's; the seductive Green (Cree Summer), who is the mascot for dark chocolate M&M's; and the slightly neurotic Orange / "Crispy" (Eric Kirchberger) for crispy M&M's(Pretzel M&M's in US when Pretzel M&M's were released). There is also a non-M&M spokescandy for the pretzel M&M's named Pretzel Guy. He is a pretzel who is with Orange in most of the Pretzels M&M's commercials, "supporting" him and offering helpful advice.

Green was the only female M&M's mascot until January 30, 2012, when M&M's unveiled a new additional businesslike spokescandy, Ms. Brown (Vanessa Williams), the "Chief Chocolate Officer".[22] in a Super Bowl XLVI advertisement, where Red mistakes her for lacking a shell coating because of her brown color.

Color Character Type Current voice artist
Red Red Milk Chocolate Billy West
Yellow Yellow Peanut J. K. Simmons
Blue Blue Almond Robb Pruitt
Green Ms. Green Dark Chocolate/ Peanut Butter Cree Summer
Orange Orange
Crisped Rice / Pretzels Eric Kirchberger
Pink Pink Raspberry Justin Starbucks
Brown Ms. Brown Milk chocolate Vanessa Williams

Color changes in chocolate M&M's

In early 1995, Mars ran a promotion in which consumers were invited to vote on which of blue, pink, or purple would replace the tan M&M's. Blue was the winner, replacing tan in the fall of 1995. Consumers could vote by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR. (The introduction of blue M&M's to Australia in 1997 was controversially promoted by the Carlton Football Club of the Australian Football League [AFL] who, for one game, swapped their trademark dark blue guernseys for pale blue guernseys—their first change since the early 20th century.[23]) Ads for the new blue colors featured a plain and an almond blue M&M character as Red and Yellow take notice of trying to do takes in the commercial by painting themselves blue where they appear on stage with B.B. King singing the blues, but the filmmakers had to cut the scene as they were not the real blue M&M's; another featured Red and Yellow holding their breath to look like the new blue M&M's, where Steven Weber sees the three M&M's, Red, Yellow, and Blue; and one more featuring Weber talking to the blue M&M if he had dived into the chocolate pool, but did not.

In 2002, Mars solicited votes in their first ever "M&M's Global Color Vote" to add a new color from three choices: aqua (turquoise), pink, and purple. This time, purple won and was featured for a limited time. To help the colors get votes, Ken Schrader and his MB2 Motorsports team, who was sponsored by M&M's at the time, ran four paint schemes during the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season representing the promotion (one for aqua, one for pink, one for purple, and another one with all three colors on the car.) Specially marked packages of M&M's were to find all purple M&M's in a bag to win 100 Million Yen.

On January 1, 2004, at the stroke of midnight, Mars lost all of the colors of M&M's and made them black-and-white on both their candies and the packaging. It coincided with a commercial parodying The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is home in bed and looks out of the window and sees what the colors of the four M&M's were. The goal was to help the M&M's find their colors in black-and-white packages of M&M's, in this order: brown, orange, red, green, yellow, and blue. After all of the colors have been found, the colored packaging returned, and began carrying the theme "Chocolate is better in color".

Since 2004 M&M's have been available online in 17 colors, with personalized phrases on each candy on the opposite side from the "m".[24] Released around Christmas, these custom-printed M&M's were originally intended for holiday greetings, but are now available all year round.

For the 2008 Valentine's Day season Mars introduced all-green bags of M&M's. This was due to common urban folklore that says green M&M's are an aphrodisiac.[25] They were brought back for 2009 alongside the "Ms. Green Heats Up Valentine's Day" contest.

In October 2011, Mars released M & M's White Chocolate Candy Corn exclusively in the United States for Halloween. These candies come in three colors: White, Bright Yellow, and Bright Orange.

Color changes summarized in bar graph

The following is a summary of the changes to the colors of the flagship (milk chocolate) flavor of M&M's, the only filling manufactured since the beginning of the brand. From 1941 until 1969, each package contained M&M's in five different colors; when red M&M's were reintroduced in 1987, they were added as a sixth color instead of replacing any of the existing colors.

ImageSize = width:800 height:200 PlotArea = left:50 bottom:60 top:0 right:50 Alignbars = justify DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:1940 till:2013 TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal format:yyyy

ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5 start:1940

Colors =

 id:brown  value:rgb(0.32, 0.20, 0.18)
 id:tan       value:rgb(0.57, 0.44, 0.22)
 id:red       value:rgb(0.86, 0.08, 0.16)
 id:orange value:rgb(0.98, 0.30, 0)
 id:yellow  value:rgb(0.95, 0.95, 0.05)
 id:green   value:rgb(0.20, 0.70, 0.34)
 id:blue     value:rgb(0.05, 0.15, 0.85)
 id:violet   value:rgb(0.55, 0.27, 0.55)

LineData =

 at:1945 color:black layer:back
 at:1955 color:black layer:back
 at:1965 color:black layer:back
 at:1975 color:black layer:back
 at:1985 color:black layer:back
 at:1995 color:black layer:back
 at:2005 color:black layer:back

BarData =

 bar:mmbrown  text:"Brown"
 bar:mmyellow text:"Yellow"
 bar:mmgreen  text:"Green"
 bar:mmred1   text:"Red"
 bar:mmviolet text:"Violet"
 bar:mmtan    text:"Tan"
 bar:mmorange text:"Orange"
 bar:mmblue   text:"Blue"

PlotData =

 width:10 textcolor:black align:left anchor:from shift:(10,-4)
 bar:mmbrown  from:1941 till:end color:brown
 bar:mmyellow from:1941 till:end color:yellow
 bar:mmgreen  from:1941 till:end color:green
 bar:mmviolet from:1941 till:1949 color:violet
 bar:mmred1   from:1941 till:1976 color:red
 bar:mmred1   from:1987 till:end color:red
 bar:mmtan    from:1949 till:1995 color:tan
 bar:mmorange from:1976 till:end color:orange
 bar:mmblue   from:1995 till:end color:blue


Health concerns

Red candies were eliminated in 1976[26] because of health concerns over the dye amaranth (FD&C Red #2), which was a suspected carcinogen, and were replaced with orange-colored candies. This was done despite the fact that M&M's did not contain the dye; the action was purely to satisfy worried consumers. Red candies were reintroduced ten years later, but they also kept the orange colored M&M's. They currently contain Allura Red AC (FD&C Red #40, E129), connected with hyperactivity disorder in children.

In some European countries, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Norway.[27] Instead, Cochineal (E120) is used in the red shells.

In July 2009, a study showed that a dye similar to that in blue M&M's showed benefits in helping paralyzed rats to walk again.[28]


External links

  • Official website
  • The History of M&M's Chocolates from us.mms.com

See also

  • Smarties, a similar candy made by Nestle, not marketed in the U.S.

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