Sunday, November 19, 2006


So I was eating some m&ms today and I started thinking about the two associations I have with them. The first is when I was kid when my family would visit our cousins in Utah, my parents would stay up with our aunt and uncle, talking and eating a big bowl of m&ms, pausing only to send any m&m begging kids back to bed. The second is witnessing Jared's crusade to stick it to the man by never eating a blue m&m, and actually SAVE every blue m&m from any package he ever opened and from every package that the people around him who didn't think he was crazy ever opened, and send them back to the mars company that made them as an act of defiance against..... something. I forgot. My only question is, Jared- Did you ever send them?

As I sat down to write this, I realized I didn't know which company made m&ms. So I wikied it (is it a word, to "wiki" something?), and discovered that, yes, they were made by the Mars company. What I didn't know was that they are named after Forrest Mars (of Mars company fame) and Bruce Murrie, taking the first letter of their last names. They originally were a British product marketed as smarties, but when the two men sold them in the US, they had to change the name as Smarties were already being sold.

-Other m&m trivia I discovered: Peanut m&ms were called "treets" in Europe until 1990.
-M&ms were given to soldiers during World War II since they could survive a variety of climates.
-They were originally eaten by soldiers in the Spanish civil war, after which they were bought by the two aforementioned Americans.
-Steven Spielberg approached Mars about placing m&ms in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. They declined, and the offer went instead to the Hersheys Company to place Reeses Pieces. Their sales tripled the week after the release.
-The white "m" printed on each one started in 1950 and was originally black
-The original color for all m&ms was brown. In 1960 they added red, yellow and green. In 1976 they removed red due to cancer scares from red dye and replaced it with orange. After the scare died down, red was re-introduced in 1987. And we finally come to Jared's reason for his compaign:

In 1993, Mars ran a promotion in which consumers were invited to vote on which of blue, pink, or purple would be introduced. Blue was the winner, and with the removal of tan, it was added in early 1995.

So there you have it, the history of m&ms. Though I'm still interested in knowing how the anti blue campaign went.


Julie C said...

My favorite memory of m&m's was when Jenny & I were spending the night with our cousins, in their room. We snuck into the kitchen, ate kiwis by cutting off the tops and using a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the inside. Then we ate m&m's in bed. My teddy bear ended up with a pile of green m&m's under its bum, and we cracked up! To this day, we all laugh if we say to each other "green m&m's

Cabeza said...

I am ashamed to say that I have not yet shipped the hated blue M&Ms. I packaged them up, complete with a letter in December last year before I left for Virginia. I addressed the package. But I had no money, so I didn't ship it.

The Shark mailed me a bunch of my stuff and I found the package of M&Ms among it all. So I need to open it up, redate the letter, and seal it again so I can ship.

I'm ready for this struggle to be over. I'll never eat a blue M&M so long as I live, but I'll no longer be an active opponent of them. You can't fight Mars.

Anyway, I'll let you know when I ship those.