Mars and Murrie Candies

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Origin Story

Forrest Mars had a row with is father, manufacturer of Milky Way bars, and decided to make his own way to fame. When he was in Spain in the 1930s, he saw many soldiers eating small chocolate pellets. What astounded him was, with the intense heat, the chocolate candies remained in tact and didn't melt. Apparently, the candies were enclosed in a hard, sugary coating.

With an inspired idea, Forrest Mars went back to the United States of America and approached Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey executive William Murrie. Mars wanted to make sure that he had enough resources for his new products.

Murrie was promised 20% share in the product sales, which would be called M&M for Mars and Murrie (Murrie really should have fought for a bigger share).

As seen in the picture below, the M&M candies originally came in cardboard tubes. Originally, the candies were sold only to the military as part of the soldiers' rations. By the time the war ended, though, a new breed of choco-holics was born.

M&M candies came in many colors. They were in brown, yellow, red, green, orange, and violet. Plain chocolate M&Ms were introduced in 1941. Peanut M&Ms followed in 1954. In 1988, Almond M&Ms were introduced as a specialty item. They became part of the line-up in 1992. Surprisingly, M&Ms in peanut butter flavor were introduced later in 1990.

Even with all these flavors, there is an M&M flavor that is not available year-round: mint.

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Did you know?

  • The only female "spokescandy" for M&M candies used to be the green M&M, voiced by Cree Summer. In 2012, a new spokescandy was introduced - the female brown M&M voiced by Vanessa Williams.
  • Production for the red M&M was stopped in 1976, when health concerns were raised regarding the coloring used for the candy. It was suspected to be carcinogenic. Orange M&Ms were then produced to replace the red ones. Red M&MS were re-introduced in 1987, and the orange ones were kept alongside the reds.

M&Ms for Everyone!

Of course, business is better with more customers! When the war ended, the candy became available to the public. With a great increase in sales, Mars bought Murrie's share and became sole owner of M&M.

M&M candies are all imprinted with a white "M" sign, but in 1950, it was still in black. It was changed later on in 1954. In just a few years, in 1956, M&M became the #1 candy in the United States of America.

Evidently, he and his father patched things up, and junior decided to merge his various businesses with his father's company, which expanded and became such a big manufacturer for chocolate and other candies that they nearly swallowed other chocolate industries like Hershey's.

In 1981, M&M candies became the first chocolate candies to reach outer space. In 1984, M&M was publicized as the official snack of that year's Olympics.

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Comments 3 comments

DrBillSmithWriter profile image

DrBillSmithWriter 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

I had heard pieces of this story, not the whole thing! Thanks, so much, for sharing it here!! ;-)


Maximum A profile image

Maximum A 2 years ago Author

you're welcome dr bill :) now let's have 'em m&ms!


ThatMommyBlogger profile image

ThatMommyBlogger 18 months ago from The Midwest

Wow! Very interesting. I never knew this candy was inspired by soldiers.

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