Original M&M Candy
Forrest Mars, Sr. the creator of the original M&M candy that was originally made for soldiers fighting in the Spanish Civil War to eat chocolate without it melting. He coated the chocolate in a hard sugary candy coating with fantastic success and after the war he then refined it in his own kitchen into the delicious candy treat we all enjoy today. First marketed in 1941, M&M’s swiftly turned into one of the most popular candies in the USA and in 1948 the packaging was changed from a tube to the familiar brown package we see on candy racks today.
Paradoxically, M&M’s now package their “minis” in plastic tubes! The functionality of the M&M’s throughout World War II created a boost in manufacturing and its manufacturing facility moved to larger quarters where they continued up until 1958 when they moved their operation to a larger factory at Hackettstown, New Jersey. During the war, the candies were exclusively offered to the military. With the popularity of television, M&M’s share of the market continued to grow and in 1954 the Mars Company presented peanut M&M’s. That was also the year that their well-known motto was coined, “The milk chocolate melt’s in your mouth, not in your hand”. M&M’s were popular with mothers who had youngsters and had problems with chocolate spots on laundry day!
Mars continued to improve the appearance of the candy adding more colors to the previously all-brown pieces and developing the M&M characters that now appear on the packages and in all M&M’s marketing. Children and grownups both liked the colorful M&M’s however the red ones were removed in the late 1970’s due to controversy about a red food dye and its destructive results. Although M&M’s did not contain that particular dye, Mars wished to avoid confusion and pulled the color from the production line. M&M’s discovered that altering their colors was popular with consumers. In the early 80’s Mars presented special holiday colors, green and red for Christmas and pastels for Easter.
Red made its triumphant return in 1987 due to an avalanche of client requests. Choosing to involve their faithful consumer base in the color decisions, Mars let consumers vote for their selection in between pink, purple and blue in 1995 then included the winner-blue! Another, worldwide vote in 2001 saw purple included. Colors just weren’t the only additions to M&M candies, however. Peanut butter flavor was introduced and commonly authorized in the 80’s, as were almond M&M’s.
They were by then so popular and well known that in 1981 American astronauts selected them to be consisted of in their food rations throughout their flights. This earned M&M a location in the space food exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.! The eighties were also the decade that the candy got in the European markets, quickly acquiring approval and boosting sales to an all-time high. By 1996, the M&M candy characters were more popular than Bart Simpson or even Mickey Mouse.
The following year saw the opening of the first M&M store on the Las Vegas strip that still does a booming business in logo designed products consisting of jewelry, furnishings, designer outfits and other clothing and devices. M&M’s were arguably the world’s most popular and beloved sweet. M&M s candies have actually sponsored Nascar racers, raised funds for Special Olympics and even provided unique pink and white sweets to support the Susan G. Komen foundation during National Breast Cancer month each October. The Mars Co. is proud to be able to repay to the world a little measure of the support they have gotten for numerous decades.
The sweet shells, each of which has the letter “m” printed in lower case on one side, surround a variety of fillings, consisting of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, crisped rice, mint chocolate, peanuts, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry, and peanut butter. M&M’s originated in the United States in 1941, and are now offered in over 100 nations.