Friday, December 22, 2023

M&M® Origin Story

Forrest Mars Sr., son of the Mars Company founder Frank C. Mars, reproduced the idea for a confectionery in the 1930s after observing British soldiers enjoying Smarties, small chocolate beads with a durable colored shell, during the Spanish Civil War to prevent them from melting.

Upon returning to the United States in 1940, Forrest Mars applied this inspiration to establish M&M Limited in Newark, New Jersey, where he developed candies encased in a sugar shell. The moniker "M&M®" was coined from the surnames of Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie. Bruce, the son of Hershey executive William Murray, agreed to contribute chocolate, sugar, technology, and some capital. The initial machines used for producing M&M were modified from the equipment employed in making Hershey's Kisses.

The inaugural M&M candies were manufactured in 1914 and packaged in a paper tube to prevent melting in warm weather. In 1932, subsequent to a disagreement with his father and business partner, Forrest Mars Sr. relocated to England, engaging in the production of Mars bars for military personnel.

In March 1941, Mars secured a patent for his manufacturing process, and production kicked off in Newark, New Jersey. The chocolates were originally designed for effortless transport and consumption by soldiers during the war. Marketed in cardboard tubes, M&Ms sported a coating in brown, red, orange, yellow, green, or violet.

Forrest Mars Sr. aimed to market chocolates throughout the year, particularly during the summer when sales typically dwindled. By enveloping the chocolate in a candy shell, M&Ms maintained their resistance to melting, enabling them to be marketed at any time.

Throughout the war, M&Ms were exclusively distributed to the military, supplying heat-resistant and easily transportable chocolate for American soldiers' rations. Peanut-centered M&Ms made their debut in 1954, followed by almond-centered M&Ms in 1988, mint chocolate M&Ms in 1989, and peanut butter chocolate M&Ms featuring a peanut butter creme center surrounded by chocolate and a candy shell.
M&M® Origin Story