Originally made as a high-energy field snack for American soldiers, because “they melt in your mouth, not in your hand.” M&M’s were named after Forrest Mars and Bruce Murries, the inventors.
Red M&M’s were discontinued for 11 years from 1976 to 1985 after the FDA banned Red Dye No. 2, even though M&M’s did not contain this dye. They have always used Red #’s 3 and 40!
Many consumers protested, and a student at the University of Tennessee (Paul Hethmon, the photo editor on the student newspaper, the Daily Beacon) started a society for the Restoration and Preservation of Red M&M’s. Eventually the company relented and began producing it again. It was reintroduced it at about the same time as glasnost and the crumbling of the anti-Red scare. Focus groups were held to decide the correct proportions for the gradual reintroduction of the banned variety during the Christmas season of 1985.
The new proportions were 30% brown, 20% red, 20% yellow and 10% each of orange, green and tan for plain M&M’s.
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