Skip to content

Fun Facts Around M&Ms

With the variety of colors to choose from and a variety varieties, it’s clear there’s an M&M’s pack to suit every person. It’s likely that almost everyone has tasted these candy-coated treats at some moment throughout their life. At the very minimum, you’ve been exposed by the Red yellow and blue M&M’s on the television.

M&M’s have experienced everything with us. From baking them into cookies, to putting M&M’s as a dessert plate at a wedding reception, to eating them in a handful during a hike M&M’s are an absolute traditional candy for the long haul. However, how many years have they been in existence? What was the source of inspiration for M&M’s originated and, more importantly, why do they have become so popular in the past? We decided to look deeper into this candy’s history to learn the details about these chocolate-covered treats. This is the truth of M&M’s.

M&M’s are around for decades

For many, M&M’s are a staple in the majority of celebrations in life. Birthdays? Check. Halloween? Check. It’s all due to the long-lasting brand. M&M’s were introduced to the U.S. by Forrest E. Mars in Newark, New Jersey in 1941. However, the origins of the brand go far back than that.

Frank C. Mars had established a candy company within Washington state back in 1911 and then prepared for his son Forrest for taking on the role a few several years after. In the end, Forrest was not a fan of the way his father was managing his Washington candy company. And He had a fresh candy concept of his own. Therefore, he sought the right business partner to take on the idea of a joint venture producing candy-coated, little chocolates.

Forrest Mars eventually paired up with Bruce Murrie, the son of William Murrie, president of Hershey’s at the time. The duo started making M&M’s from Hershey’s chocolate at the start of the 1940s under their brand new business, Mars & Murrie. Mars eventually bought out Murrie completely and removing Hershey’s chocolate of the equation and forming the company that manufactures M&M’s Twix, Snickers and many more.

M&M’s weren’t readily available to the general public until they were first made available

While Mars and Murrie created M&M’s in about the time of their 1940s debut chocolates coated with candy weren’t widely distributed from the beginning. Based on History, Mars had been impressed by soldiers he observed eating candy-coated chocolates in England throughout the Spanish Civil War, and returned in America. United States in hopes of creating a candy-coated chocolate treat that didn’t melt in the pockets of soldiers.

A patent was issued to Mars to begin the production process, and he started making the candy. The coated candies were packed in a cardboard tube to allow for convenient storage and transport, and when it became clear that the U.S. entered World War II, Mars sold his M&M’s only to military personnel for inclusion in soldiers’ diets. It wasn’t until after the war ended that M&M’s began to be widely available to the people, and Mars introduced the brown paper packaging design in 1948, which you can find on the shelves today.

The flavors and colors of M&M’s have grown like mad

There has been a lot of change in the past few decades since the first M&M launched. The initial colors were the colors of red, brown and green. They also had yellow, green and violet. The idea was straightforward — a small round of chocolate that was encased in an edible shell. However, since then the chocolate filling has changed into many other flavors. Since 1949, the color tan took over violet. Later, the year 1995 saw blue was replacing the tan. Peanut M&M’s, which debuted on the market in 1954 also underwent changes in color. Based on Mental Floss The Peanut M&M’s were first introduced as little candy balls that were tan but later reverted to the same colors as Original M&M’s.

The original M&M’s as well as Peanut M&M’s weren’t the sole varieties available for long time, up till Peanut Butter M&M’s came out in 1989. Since then, many different flavors have come out and included pretzels caramel, mint hazelnut, and other. Hot cocoa M&M’s are also available.

The’m’ on every M&M candy served specific reasons

If you’ve come across Nestle’s Smarties You may have noticed they have quite some similarities with M&M’s. They are typically available within Canada, the UK, Canada, Germany as well as Australia However, they’ve been in existence since 1937 — just a couple of years prior to when M&Ms were introduced to the market.

There are definitely certain similarities between Smarties and M&M’s, as well with other chocolate candy coated confections. Both varieties are available in disk-shaped disks that are round and have vibrant, bold colors. They also claims to the world is, neither Smarties or M&M’s will melt when you hold them. However, Mars wanted there not to be any confusion among his products compared to other brands.

In the M&M’s History, Mars wanted a solution that would ensure loyal customers could know they were eating genuine M&M’s and not another brand. Thus, each M&M started to get the letter’m’ on the candy in 1950. As per Mental Floss, the stamp initial color was black but was changed to white in the year 1954. It has remained on the candy since then. In the early days, the company had a slogan which read, “Look for the m on every candy.”

The red M&M’S went on a short hiatus

Red M&M is the favorite among many, as well as prominently displayed on most of the packaging designs. However, it wasn’t always that the way it is now.

Although M&M’s initially launched with red in its initial color palette, the company stopped the manufacture of red M&M’s in the year 1976 due to synthetic dyes: Red No. 2. A Russian study conducted in 1971 found a link between the food coloring red with cancer. This led authorities at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to look into the popular dye to a greater extent.

Based on Live Science, the results did not prove anything in relation to human consumption, however, due to its adverse effects on rats the FDA prohibited it. The funny thing is that M&M’s never made with Red No.2, but the company decided it was the best to steer clear of confusion and pulled all red M&M’s out of production. Mars introduced orange as a substitute but, in the end the red M&M that we recognize and cherish was introduced in 1987 and has been with the yellow color ever since.

M&M’s rocketed to space

There’s a small number of brands, and individuals to be exact, who are able to claim they went to space. M&M’s is among them and has been boasting about it for a long time.

According to the M&M’s story candy coated chocolates were the first confectionery to be chosen to be sent to space in the year 1981. M&M’s were picked by the very first space shuttle astronauts and were added to their food source.

However, their presence has remained for a long time. As per Smithsonian Magazine, M&M’s is quite commonplace in NASA’s space programs today due to their easy packaging and the ease of use. But, M&M’s been used for a different purpose by astronauts in the past also: entertainment. In the words of Smithsonian Magazine, M&M’s are often released by the handfuls which allows the bits to flounder across space. The goal is for astronauts to catch them using their mouths to make an enjoyable snack.

Halloween is a long preparation for M&Ms

When Halloween rolls around here in the U.S., it’s all about the candy. The quantity of candy that is purchased for the Halloween season is staggering. For 2019 it is estimated that there was the National Retail Federation estimated $2.6 billion will be spent on Halloween-themed candy, and M&M’s makes the largest part of the total. According to CandyStore.com M&M’s ranks at third place in U.S. on the Halloween popularity scale and are followed by Skittles as well as Reese’s Cups just ahead of their counterparts, but that signifies that thousands of pounds worth of M&Ms UK will be purchased and given out to kids who go out trick or treating each year.

How can a business prepare? Luckily, Mars has their plans to a T. As per CNN Business, Mars actually invests two years in preparing for Halloween. The employees are charged with asking customers what they’d like to see for the holidays, and recipes are developed, and the marketing department begins to think about display and packaging that will actually attract customers. Orders are placed months in advance of the time, and with display plans already in place to ensure the beneficial relationship between the candy maker and its retail partners are as strong as they can be.

There’s an inordinate number of M&M’s produced and sold

Do you remember opening a packet of M&M’s and ate them in a handful and then realize they’re gone. It’s not unusual. Since M&M’s are tiny and sweet, they’re a great snack to indulge in (or take a little too excessively) and with the many people who love these candy coated chocolates, you can find many M&M’s being produced and sold.

In the words of CNN Money, after taking an inside tour of the M&M’s manufacturing facility at Hackettsville, New Jersey, around 2 million M&M’s are produced every hour. This is quite a large amount of M&Ms. But it’s not the only company that makes these candy bars.

As of the year 2018 the factory located in Cleveland, Tennessee was making 300 million M&M’s each day in the plant. In addition 40 truckloads of M&M’s per day were departing the factory to deliver the candy to retailers all across the U.S.

Mars once created a huge M&M’s cow

There are many things you can create using M&M’s. M&M’s can be added into cookies in place or in place of chips made from chocolate, or tossed into cakes to add an extra splash of color to the middle, or served as a topping for cupcakes, pies or the sundae. However, Mars decided to be really imaginative and make use of M&M’s to create cows.

In 1990, marketing team at M&M came up with an idea by launching a gigantic fiberglass cow adorned with M&M’s. The cow was adorned with 66,000 M&M’s, which were all put in by hand, with the M&M logo facing the outside. “Candy,” the cow made her debut at NY State’s Erie County Fair as part of a milk chocolate marketing campaign. Candy quickly gained a lot of attention. The fair’s visitors would stand in line for 30 minutes just to view the huge candy cow. The cow was the most sought-after event at the fair in that year. Not to mention the media exposure gained from the cow’s appearance in Newsweek and making a splash in the show Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.

The Green M&M’s character has rather bold name

These characters from M&M have been in the news since 1995, appearing in commercials and ads regularly. However, that popularity wasn’t always the case. In the words of Business Insider, the candy brand’s popularity began to decline, and Mars collaborated with a marketing agency in order to elevate this brand’s popularity to higher level. The stars were born. Red, Yellow, Blue and Green all made their debuts at the same time and featured Red, Yellow, and Blue adopting different male characters. While the male M&M’s definitely are entertaining and all have their own charm but there’s some thing about Green that people have adored the most.

Green was thought to be somewhat of a seductress, thanks to her long lashes, pouty lips and white boots. There has been speculation that her image was because of rumors from the 1970s that M&M’s in green were aphrodisiacs. When Green was introduced, M&M’s leveraged the rumors and created a personality for the character of the M&M’s, using the expression “Is the truth in that they are aphrodisiacs for M&M’s that are green?”

The second character of M&M’s for women was introduced a few years later.

Green has been a part of the affections of M&M’s fans for a long time, going from her first appearance in 1995. In the beginning she was the sole female M&M’s character, and was in a crowd of male M&M’s. However, in 2012, was all changed. Mars used this year’s Super Bowl to make Brown’s debut, showing Brown’s talents to over 110 million people. According to Time the 30-second spot cost an on average $3.5 millions during the Superbowl however, M&M’s had not ran an advertisement for the previous three seasons prior to Brown making headlines.

As the company had done with each of its M&M’s personalities Brown’s new persona was an adorable package with an array of personalities. As per HuffPost, Brown debuted as the “Chief Chocolate Officer” finally making herself known after years of being in the shadows. Vanessa Williams, the voice behind Brown has told HuffPost she believes that “Ms. Brown is definitely the brain behind everything. She was the one who invented all the other colored candy candies.”

M&M’s are full of sugar

There’s no doubt that M&M’s can be quite difficult to consume in moderate amounts. Unpacking a bag and not eating it all is almost not a thing. But it appears that Mars would like their customers to pay attention to how much sugar they’re eating regardless of the fact that it results in lower the sales of M&M’s.

The U.S. Department of Health published its 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines It made an advice for Americans to restrict the amount of added sugar they consume daily to not exceeding 10 percent of their total caloric intake for the day. As per CNN, Mars issued a statement to support the recommendation, saying that limiting added sugar consumption could be beneficial to everyone Mars customers and provide better information to consumers with added information on the labels. Dave Crean, head of research and development at Mars at the time, stated, “We want people to be able to enjoy Mars brands in a balanced diet.”

The typical M&M’s actually has 29 grams of sugar added which is the equivalent of 58 percent of your daily intake which is definitely above the limit recommended if you’re eating the entire pack. Maybe Mars does not expect consumers to eat all of the package in one sitting?

You can have a completely customized version of M&M’s

If you’ve ever thought that it would be cool to get your picture put on M&M Well, now you can do it -and you can even order M&Ms and have them shipped straight to your doorstep. Dan Michael, previous R&D Director at Mars was the one who came up with this idea, and then worked on all the kinks. This allows people to purchase anything they like on M&M’s.

As per an interview by Atlas Obscura, Michael worked on the idea for around six years prior to it coming to fruition. Michael launched the brand new facility called The Print Shop to be capable of producing the customized M&M’s requests. The M&M’s fanatics can now get almost everything they’d like printed on the candy in any shade. The shop of M&M’s has 24 colors to pick from, in addition to the option of adding graphics, text or upload a customized image.