a vestige of thought...
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Though there is some debate as to the exact inspiration for M&Ms, they were apparently based to some extent on the older British product, Smarties. Forrest Mars Sr. apparently saw soldiers during the Spanish Civil War comsuming these or similar candies. He bought the rights to produce them in the US and, with R. Bruce Murrie, introduced them as M&Ms in America. The name, formed by combining the last initials of each candymaker, was changed from the British product as another American candy called Smarties already existed. M&Ms were first sold in 1941. They were first popular among American soldiers in WWII, since the candy coating allowed them to enjoy chocolate without a melty mess, regardless of temperature conditions. M&Ms took a bit longer to appeal to the general public, but once the slogan 'melts in your mouth, not in your hand' was coined in 1954, parents and children alike embraced the product.
M&Ms, originally sold in cardboard tubes, were introduced in six colors: brown, yellow, orange, red, green, and violet. In 1948, the tube was done away with and the familiar brown bag was introduced. In 1949, tan candies replaced the original violet. A year later, the candies first appeared stamped with their trademark 'm' on one side. This stamp was originally black. Peanut M&Ms, all brown when introduced (Steve Edison, from The Wedding Planner, would approve), changed to red, yellow, and green in 1960. Although not mentioned on the official M&M website, red M&Ms were discontinued in 1976, the same year orange was introduced. A scare with a certain red dye that was believed to be a carcinogin, which M&Ms did not use, spurred many candymakers to pull red products from the shelves. Red candies were reintroduced in 1987, first as part of a holiday special and then as part of the regular line up. In 1995, the M&M company appealed to the public, who voted that blue be added as the newest candy color. Only months later "Colorworks" was introduced. This allowed consumers to choose from 21 colors of M&Ms for special orders. Finally, in 2002 M&M fans around the world voted to add purple to the traditional color line up. And the M&M company assured us... the best is yet to come.
Plain M&Ms- 1941 (the name was changed to Milk Chocolate M&Ms in 1990)
Peanut M&Ms- 1954
Almost M&Ms- 1988
Peanut Butter M&Ms- 1990
M&M Minis- 1996
Crispy M&Ms- 1998
Mega M&Ms- 2000
Dark M&Ms- 2004 (special release), 2006
~Apparently eliptical shapes, such as the M&M, pack more tightly than spheres. This, it would seem, is a big deal. Hooray for elipses!
~According to some website, the "official" (though I'm not sure whose word made this official) breakdown of color percentages in any given bag of M&Ms is as follows: Brown-30%, Red-20%, Yellow-20%, Blue-10%, Orange-10%, Green-10%
~M&M Duels- the natural selection of chocolate. Read it; it's funny.
~And an amusing video that will remind you of just how many calories M&Ms hold and could possibly prevent you from eating too many (at one time) of the M&Ms that you purchase after reading this blog entry.
I am now craving M&Ms like you wouldn't believe.