Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Little Candy History...!

I don't know many folks that haven't at least heard of M & M candy. So popular they have a full line of toys associated with them.

The history of the M & M candy is a surprising one, though. I found this very interesting and I figured you might also.

 The Wartime Origins of the M&M
By Laura Schumm

Credit: Mars, Incorporated

It may not surprise you to learn that many amazing discoveries and inventions are spawned from war, but did you know the hugely popular M&M candies beloved by kids and adults of all ages around the world are one such innovation?

After clashing with his father—the creator of the Milky Way bar—for a few years at Mars Inc., Forrest Mars Sr. moved to England, where in 1932 he began manufacturing the Mars bar for troops in the United Kingdom. It was during the Spanish Civil War that Mars purportedly encountered soldiers eating small chocolate beads encased in a hard sugar shell as part of their rations. In an age when sales of chocolate typically dropped off during summer months due to the lack of air conditioning, Forrest was thrilled by the prospect of developing a product that would be able to resist melting in high temperatures. He returned to the United States and, shortly thereafter, approached Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey executive William Murrie, to join him in his new business venture. Anticipating a shortage of chocolate and sugar as World War II raged on in Europe, Mars sought a partnership that would ensure a steady supply of resources to produce his new candy. In return, Murrie was given a 20 percent stake in the M&M product, which was named to represent ‘Mars’ and ‘Murrie.’

In March of 1941, Mars was granted a patent for his manufacturing process and production began in Newark, New Jersey. Originally sold in cardboard tubes, M&M’s were covered with a brown, red, orange, yellow, green or violet coating. After the United States entered the war, the candies were exclusively sold to the military, enabling the heat-resistant and easy-to-transport chocolate to be included in American soldiers’ rations. By the time the war was over and GIs returned home, they were hooked.

Shortly after wartime quotas ended and the candies were made available to the general public, Forrest Mars bought out Murrie’s shares in the company and took sole ownership of the M&M brand. The familiar brown bag package that remains in use today was introduced in 1948. In 1950, the candies were imprinted with a black “m” (which changed to white in 1954) and customers were encouraged to “Look for the M on every piece” to ensure they were getting the real thing. Peanut M&M’s made their debut in 1954, along with the cartoon characters Mr. Plain and Mr. Peanut, and by 1956 M&M’s had become the No. 1 candy in the United States.

In 1964, Forrest merged his various businesses (which by then included pet food and rice, among other products) with his father’s company, Mars Inc., and soon began to phase out external chocolate suppliers like Hershey’s. Upon request by the crew aboard NASA’s first space shuttle, Columbia, M&M’s were the first candy to rocket into space in 1981. Three years later, they were advertised as the Official Snack of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Today, the crowd-pleasing and satisfying candies continue to sweeten a soldier’s day as a welcome part of their individual Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) field ration

Who would have ever guessed that the little candies so popular now days got their humble start in a time of war? Certainly not me! Thanks to the wonderful folks at, back stories like this are still around for us to enjoy!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Heck, I'll even share some M & Ms with ya'll!


linda m said...

M&M's are still my favorite candy. I do remember hearing a long time ago that they got their start during the war. Glad they are still around. Temps are starting to warm up here in WI. Supposed to get some rain this weekend.

Chickenmom said...

Still like to have the candy dish on the coffee table filled with them.
Must . have . chocolate!

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Peanut M&Ms are a staple at my house, but the gumball machine is filled with plain. Didn't take grandson Henry long to figure out how to work that number!
Enjoying the sunshine, for a change ...

Mamahen said...

Who knew right?.:))

JO said...

Very interesting, never heard how they had gotten started before and it was great for the Military folks to have a special treat.

Another hot one here today but really nice right now for coffee on the patio

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have an opened bag of them right now. I keep them in the refrig. Yeh, I know that they are not suppose to melt, but I like them cold. I learned something today from your post, as I do most days.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
I'm glad that you are finally getting sdome warmer weather. It's about time, right?

Always fun to have some around for that sudden craving. Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
Sounds like a good plan to me! Having a candy dish close by is always a good idea!

Thanks for dropping in this morning!

Hey Mamahen...
Nothing like some fun history to start the day!

Thanks for stopping in today!

Hey Jo...
Many good things got there true beginnings during war-time. Guess this was one of thewm!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by this morning!

Hey Dizzy...
The main thing is that you have some handy, right?

Thanks, buddy, for stopping by today!