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M&Ms Were Invented For The Military In 1941. Can You Name The 5 Original Colors?

Today is National M&M’s day.  M&M’s are colorful little sugar-coated chocolate pieces that have stolen the hearts of generations in over 100 countries.  Invented in 1941, these tiny little bits of candy-coated chocolate have made a huge impact on American history throughout their more than 80 years of life!

  • From 1976 to 1985, there were no red M&Ms
  • Blue M&Ms were introduced in 1995.
  • M&Ms were taken along on the first space shuttle voyage in 1982.
  • There are over 400 million M&M’s produced daily.
  • The “M&M” was modeled after a candy, which Forrest Mars, Sr. encountered while in Spain during the 1930s. During the Spanish civil war there, he observed soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate. This prevented the candies from melting, which was essential when included in soldiers rations as they were
  • The story of M&M’s began way back in 1941, right in the middle of the Second World War.  They were produced in a New Jersey factory, but due to the high demand, they had to be moved to even bigger premises.
  • During the war years, M&M’s were sold only to the military, which meant that the everyday chocolate-lover didn’t get to sample the glorious candy until the war ended in 1945.
  • Until 1950, there were no letters printed onto the pieces, and between 1950 and 1954, the letter ‘m’ was printed in black. The color was changed to white in 1954 – the same year that peanut M&M’s were introduced.
  • Red M&M’s are among the most popular today, but in the 1970s, they were replaced with orange pieces for almost ten years.
  • This was the result of a study which stated that red food dye was linked to cancers. In 1982, a university student founded the Society for the Restoration and Preservation of Red M&M’s, a campaign to bring back the red M&M’s.
  • By 1987, the popular red color was back on the shelves, and many customers were happy to hear that the orange pieces would remain there too.
  • The original colors of M&M’s were red, yellow, violet, green, and brown.
  • Then, in 1949, violet was switched to tan. Later, the company asked customers to vote for which color they wanted in the pack and the winner was blue. Nowadays, you’ll find brown, yellow, orange, red, green, and blue
  • Since 2020, M&M’s have been available online in 24 colors.
  • They also come in many different flavors such as milk chocolatedark chocolate, mint chocolate, orange chocolate, crispy,peanutsalmondscaramelhazelnutspeanut butter, and coconut.
  • A typical 1.69-ounce bag of plain M&M’s contains about 56 candies.
  • n 1954 the world-famous M&M characters made their first television appearance.
  • M&M’s was the first candy in space. They were chosen by the first space shuttle astronauts to be included in their food supply.
  • M&Ms happen to be the most commonly eaten chocolate in NASA’s space program.
  • Do you know those commercials where oversized red and yellow M&M’S candies banter for 30 seconds? Well, one of those voices sounds so familiar because the yellow M&M’S candy is voiced by J.K. Simmons.  Simmons has provided the voice of Yellow since 1996 and has even created a backstory for the goofy peanut candy. The Whiplash star is only the second to voice Yellow. John Goodman was the original voice of the candy.
  • The red M&M’S candy is currently voiced by Billy West, the actor behind Futurama’s Fry.
  •  Prior to President Ronald Reagan, the majority of presidential products were matchboxes and cigarettes. These were often handed out on Air Force One or to visitors at the White House.
  • They’re now given as gifts to visitors. Presidents since, including Bush, Clinton, Obama, Trump and Biden, have carried on the tradition.
  • In 2006, M&M’s became the official chocolate of NASCAR
  • M&Ms are also one of the many official food sponsors of the NFL
  • The candies are number one in Florida, Hawaii, and Kansas when it comes to Halloween.
  • Though you’re used to seeing M&M’s in a plastic packet, they came in a brown cardboard tube when they were first launched. You popped open one end and they poured easily into your hands. Also, the lid could be snapped back on if you only fancied a few. The brown bags came into play in 1948.
  • Forrest Mars was a stickler for quality control. He was known to call up sales associates in the middle of the night and order a batch be recalled if he so much as saw a candy where the “m” wasn’t printed directly in the center. Meanwhile, the level of bacteria on the floor in a Mars factory is apparently less than an average kitchen sink.
  • In the 1970s a rumor started that green M&M’s were an aphrodisiac. In schools across America, students could be found rummaging around for the offending shade and feeding them to their crush. At one point you could buy packets that consisted purely of green M&M’s (sold by an unofficial company). Later on, Mars capitalized on the hearsay and launched the flirtatious green M&M’s character, Ms. Green.
  • Ready to go global, M&M’s paid £3.5 million ($5 million) to be named “the official snack food of the 1984 Olympic games” held in Los Angeles. It needed a brand that could be recognized in every nation (at the time Snickers was called Marathon in the UK). With worldwide recognition, M&M’s expanded into Asia Pacific, Australia, Europe, and Russia.
  • By the 1990s M&M’s sales had dropped and the company needed a plan. It hired ad agency BBDO and gave them a small budget to turn things around. The solution? Turning the candies into characters with distinct personalities, voicing them with comedians and making them appear in adverts with celebrities. Red was sarcastic, Yellow the goofball, Blue the cool one, Green the seductress and Orange the neurotic one – America loved them.
  • Hitting the big time, M&M’s used the Super Bowl to debut its second female character, Ms. Brown, the brains of the gang. The 30-second spot cost as much as £2.8 million ($4 million) and was seen by an average of 111.3 million viewers back in 2012. Since then the comedic characters have made a number of reappearances to entertain fans at halftime.


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