M&M Candies are a favorite of many and their slogan, "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands" still holds true some 80 years after Forrest Mars, Sr., founder of the Mars Company saw soldiers in the Spanish Civil War eating chocolate pellets covered with a shell of tempered chocolate. With some work to create what he saw, Mars received a patent for M&Ms on March 3, 1941 and production began at a factory in Newark, New Jersey.
The candies bear the initials M&M after Mars himself and Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey's Chocolate president. Murrie held 20 percent interest in the new venture. It was a brilliant business decision Hershey had control of the rationed chocolate. This partnership allowed the candies to be made using Hershey's chocolate.
Initial production created five colors: violet, green, red, yellow and brown. The candies were distributed in cardboard tubes.
At the onset of World War II, M&Ms were exclusively sold to the military. This caused an increase in production and required a larger factory.
In 1948, Mars would buy out Murrie's 20 percent in the company and replace the cardboard tube packaging with black cellophane, which is very similar to the bag we see today.
In the 1950's Mars used a black M on the candies. It was the first time the candies appeared with a letter, which later become the well-recognized white M we use today. The decade of the 1950s also launched Mars production when Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri created a process where 3,300 pounds of the chocolate centers could be coated every hour!
At the onset of 1954, Peanut M&Ms were introduced along with the signature slogan, Melts in your mouth, not in your hands" and the lovable M&M characters made their television debut! It would not be until 1960, however, that the Peanut M&M's were colored in red, green and yellow.
The 1960s found Mars manipulating the centers of M&M's trying Almonds. These were not popular. In 1988 the company reintroduced the almond centered M&Ms as a limited edition during Easter and Christmas. It wouldn't be until 1992 that Almond M&M's became a standard part of production.
In 1976, due to concerns of Red #2 dye causing cancer, Mars dropped the red M&Ms and replaced them with orange. Mars did this as a means to satisfy their consumers as the M&M candies did not contain the dye.
The 1980s were a time of celebration as M&M's went international and beyond hitting markets in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Then in 1983, M&Ms found their way into outer space and have been a part of all missions since!
In 1984 M&M's was the official snack food of the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, California.
In 1990, became a sponsor for NASCAR, creating the M&M team with drivers: Ernie Irvan, Ken Schrader, Eliott Sadler and Kyle Busch.
Peanut Butter M&Ms were introduced in 1991.
Fans were invited to vote, in 1995, on a color to replace the tan M&M. Votes were cast by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR and the consumer's choice was BLUE.
1996 gives M&M fans the opportunity to create their own colored M&Ms, from 21 color choices, with ColorWorks.
The popular Green M&M makes her television debut and M&M World in Las Vegas opens its doors to the public.
In 1998, M&M went back to tubes with the introduction of the M&M Minis. It was also in this year that M&Ms became the "candy of the new millennium" as MM is the roman numeral for 2000. The following year, Crispy M&Ms were introduced and were yielded the greatest profit of any M&M variety.
Mars calls on the public again in 2002 with their "M&Ms Global Color Vote". Three choices for a new M&M color were options: aqua, pink and purple. Purple won and was featured as a limited time only color.
MyMMs.com is introduced in 2004, giving consumers the option to print on M&Ms, with personalized phrases on each candy on the opposite side from the "m". There are 17 vibrant color options available.
In 2005 Mars joins the force with the launch of their "MPire" campaign that introduced the Dark Chocolate M&M to the public.
To draw more attention to the MMs.com site, in 2007, M&M's produced a 50-foot, smiling Lady Liberty M&M statue to kick off a campaign encouraging Americans to create their own M&M characters at mms.com.
Pretzel M&Ms were introduced in 2010 and the M&M packaging designs changed to show M&Ms on the wrapper
Bea's Gift Baskets offers the Maximum M&M experience with several baskets featuring America's favorite candies.
ABOUT BEA'S GIFT BASKETS AND GIFTS:
Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts, owned by Bea Alexander, is committed to providing only the finest gourmet gift baskets and gifts. Chosen for the 31st Annual Emmy Awards Gift Baskets, and named by NAPW as Professional Woman of the Year (2011), Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts specializes in fabulous containers with elaborate designs for any occasion, and always offers the latest trends in gift basket design. The company offers a variety of gifts including gourmet baskets, personalized gifts. There's something for any occasion all available worldwide. For more information on Bea's Gift Baskets and Gifts, please visit their Web site at http://store.beasgiftbaskets.com/StoreFront.bok or call (704) 240-4438.