M&M’s, the candy with the famous trademark saying “the milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand”, has quite the colorful history. M&Ms are small, colorful candies that are produced by Mars, Incorporated. The “M” stamped candy has a hard, candy shell that surrounds a filling; the type of filling depends on the specific type of M&M, but the original filling was chocolate.
How Did M&M’s Come About?
Although production of M&M’s did not come about until 1941, Forrest Mars, Sr. copied the idea during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s. For more on Forrest Mars, go here. Mars observed soldiers eating small chocolate pellets that were covered with a hard shell of tempered chocolate, which was meant to keep the candy from melting. These candies were known as Smarties.
During 1941, Hershey’s Chocolate had control over the rationed chocolate, so this was the chocolate used as the center of Mar’s patented M&Ms. The two M’s, are used to represent Mars and Murrie, the founder of the Newark Company, Forrest E. Mars Sr.and Bruce Murrie, the son of the president of the Hershey’s company.
Due to the practicality of the candy for the soldiers during World War II, the production increased and the factory had to move to a larger building. The new factory was located in Newark, New Jersey and remained there until 1958, when it was moved to an even larger factory in Hackettstown, New Jersey. During World War II, M&M candies were sold exclusively to the military.The candies were not made available to the public until after the quotas for wartime rations were over. At this time Mars bought out Murrie’s shares of the company and became the sole proprietor of the M&M brand.
- In 1950, the M on the M&M’s were black and in 1954 they were changed to white.
- The peanut M&M’s were first introduced in 1954, as were the cartoon characters, known as Mr. Peanut and Mr. Plain.
- By 1956, M&Ms were the number 1 candy in the United States
The original packaging for M&M’s was cardboard tubes. The tubes were changed to the familiar brown paper/plastic pouch that it is known for today.