Who doesn’t love M&Ms? These little chocolate candies have been bringing a little bit of sweetness and color to hungry hands for decades. October 13th is National M&M Day – a day to celebrate the history of M&Ms, and of course enjoy a few!
M&Ms were created in 1941, meaning this year the iconic candy has been around for 82 years! The original idea for M&Ms can be traced back to the 1930s. Forest Mars Senior, the son of the candy company Mars, noticed soldiers carrying around chocolate pellets protected by a shell to keep them from melting. He pitched the idea to his father and the company began manufacturing them in 1941 at a factory in New Jersey.
In 1949, the classic tagline “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand” was released and a year later M&M’s became branded with a black “M” giving them their unique look. Starting in 1954, the “M” changed to a white color, as it remains today. It wasn’t until the 1980s that M&Ms became a worldwide treat – starting with sales in Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Since the early 2000s, M&Ms are sold in over 100 countries.
Over the years, the classic chocolate candies have come in a variety of different flavors including peanut, dark chocolate, crispy, pretzel, caramel, oversized, mini and more. Originally produced in 5 colors – brown, yellow, green, red, and purple – there has been 8 different colored M&Ms produced in different variations throughout the years. Today M&Ms are produced in blue, orange, red, yellow, green, and brown BUT custom colors can be ordered online and through select stores. Now, you can even customize M&Ms with pictures and your own words.
National M&M Day is all about enjoying the sweet things in life. Here are some fun facts about M&Ms to read while you indulge in your chocolate delight!
- M&Ms were the first candy to go to space! On request from the crew aboard NASA’s first space shuttle in 1981, M&M’s became the first candy to be blasted into space!
- M&M’s got their name from the candy company’s founders, Forest Mars and William Murrie. The name has stayed with the candy since it was originally released in 1941.
- Over 400 million M&Ms are produced each day!
- M&Ms are the official presidential candy in the U.S. Prior to President Ronald Reagan, the majority of presidential products were matchboxes and cigarettes – handed out on Air Force One or to White House visitors. Reagan had a sweet tooth and replaced the cigarettes with M&Ms, and the tradition has continued ever since.