The History of M&M Candies

The History of M&M Candies: A Delicious Treat That Stands the Test of Time

If you're a candy lover, chances are you have a favorite M&M candy that you simply can't resist. Whether it's the classic milk chocolate M&M, the crunchy Peanut M&M, or the adorable M&M Minis, these colorful treats have captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. But have you ever wondered about the fascinating history behind M&M candies and how they have become an enduring symbol of American culture? Join us on a sweet journey as we explore the origins, milestones, and innovations that have made M&M candies the beloved confectionery they are today.

The Birth of M&M Candies

The story of M&M candies begins in the 1930s with Forrest Mars Sr., the son of Frank C. Mars, the founder of Mars Candy Company. During a visit to Europe, Forrest Mars Sr. noticed British soldiers enjoying Smarties, chocolate pellets with a hard shell. Inspired by this concept, he developed his own unique panning process, which involved hardening sugar to create a protective shell around a chocolate center. In 1941, the first M&M candies were produced in Newark, NJ, marking the beginning of a sweet revolution.

The Sweet Partnership: Mars and Hershey's

The name "M&M" pays homage to the two individuals who played a pivotal role in the creation of these delightful candies: Forrest Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey's President William F.R. Murrie. In a strategic move, Mars offered Murrie a 20% share in M&M candies, with the condition that the candies would be made exclusively with Hershey's chocolate. This partnership ensured a steady supply of high-quality chocolate and laid the foundation for the success of M&M candies. 

The Iconic M&M Tagline: "Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand"

In 1949, M&M candies introduced their iconic tagline, "melts in your mouth, not in your hand." This catchy slogan, which has remained unchanged to this day, emphasized the unique characteristic of M&M candies. The hard candy shell prevented the chocolate from melting, making it a convenient and mess-free treat. This tagline became synonymous with the brand and further solidified M&M candies' position in the hearts and minds of candy lovers everywhere.

M&M Candies: A Sweet Treat for the U.S. Army

During World War II, M&M candies served a crucial role as a convenient and portable chocolate treat for the U.S. Army. The hard candy shell protected the chocolate centers from melting, making them the perfect pick-me-up for soldiers in the field. In fact, during the war, M&M candies were exclusively sold to the Army and were not available to the general public. This exclusive contract led to a surge in popularity and laid the foundation for M&M candies' future success. 

The Birth of the Iconic "M" Logo 

To combat counterfeiting and ensure the authenticity of M&M candies, the brand introduced the iconic "M" logo. Originally, the "M" was black and was stamped on every piece of candy in the package. However, in 1954, the "M" was switched to white, giving it a distinct and recognizable look that counterfeiters couldn't replicate. Additionally, M&M candies partnered with The Midwest Research Institute to perfect the candy-coating process, allowing for the production of an impressive 3,300 pounds of chocolate centers coated every hour.

The Nutty Addition: Peanut M&M Candies 

In 1954, M&M candies expanded their product lineup with the introduction of Peanut M&M candies. The addition of peanuts to the candy's center added a delightful crunch and a hint of saltiness, creating a winning combination. Originally, these peanut M&M candies were exclusively tan to represent the color of the roasted peanuts used in the product. However, in 1960, M&M candies added green, yellow, and red colors to differentiate them further.

A Colorful Evolution: M&M Candies' Vibrant Characters

One of the distinctive features of M&M candies is their vibrant colors and lovable characters. The idea for these candy characters came to life in 1995, through the artistic vision of Will Vinton, an artist and animator. Vinton took the existing talking characters, regular M&M and Peanut M&M, and injected them with unique personalities. Red, known as the mascot for milk chocolate, peanut butter, and crispy M&M candies, is cynical and sarcastic. Yellow, the mascot for Peanut M&M candies, is happy and gullible. Blue, the mascot for Almond M&M candies, is cool and collected. Green, the mascot for Dark Chocolate Mint and Peanut Butter M&M candies, was designed to be seductive, inspired by the urban legend that green M&Ms were aphrodisiacs. Orange, introduced with Crispy M&M candies and later associated with Pretzel M&M candies, is slightly neurotic. Most recently, in 2023, the purple character made its debut, representing acceptance and inclusivity with the M&M Fudge Brownie flavor. 

The Expansion of M&M Candies' Product Line 

As M&M candies gained popularity, the brand expanded its product line to cater to the evolving tastes of its customers. In 1960, M&M candies introduced a new peanut product: almond M&M candies. Although this product had a brief hiatus, it made a comeback in 1988 and became a standard offering in 1990. In the 1980s, M&M candies also launched holiday-themed candies for Easter and Christmas, featuring seasonal symbols on the chocolate cover. However, these symbols were replaced with the iconic "M" logo in 1993, solidifying M&M candies' brand identity. In the 1990s, M&M candies unveiled a new innovation: M&M Minis. These bite-sized candies offered the same delicious flavor as their larger counterparts but in a smaller, more convenient package.

Innovations and New Flavors: Keeping M&M Candies Fresh

With the turn of the millennium, M&M candies embraced research and development to bring exciting new flavors to their customers. In 2010, they introduced Pretzel M&M candies, combining the irresistible crunch of pretzels with the smooth chocolatey goodness of M&M candies. This innovative flavor quickly became a fan favorite. In 2016, M&M candies expanded their repertoire with Coffee Nut M&M candies, blending the rich flavors of coffee and peanuts. The following year, M&M candies introduced Caramel M&M candies, delighting candy lovers with a gooey caramel center.

In 2019, M&M candies upped their game with the release of two new flavors: English Toffee M&M candies and Hazelnut Spread M&M candies, catering to the ever-growing demand for delectable combinations. Most recently, in 2020, M&M candies introduced Fudge Brownie M&M candies, capturing the essence of a beloved dessert in a bite-sized treat.

M&M Candies: A Colorful Conclusion

In conclusion, the journey of M&M candies is a testament to the power of innovation, creativity, and a deep understanding of consumer preferences. From its humble beginnings as a military ration during World War II to becoming one of the most beloved and recognizable candy brands in the world, M&M candies have stood the test of time. With a wide range of flavors, vibrant colors, and lovable characters, M&M candies continue to bring joy and sweetness to people of all ages.

If you're craving a taste of M&M heaven, look no further than Candy Heaven, an online store based in Canada. We offer a wide selection of M&M candies and other delightful treats from around the world. Indulge in the rich history and irresistible flavors of M&M candies, and experience the magic that has made them a favorite for generations.

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