Subject: M+M's Chocolate Candies FAQ list Date: 13 May 1993 18:34:40 -0500 Not surprisingl

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From: (SNOPES) Subject: M&M's Chocolate Candies FAQ list Date: 13 May 1993 18:34:40 -0500 Not surprisingly, it turns out that the M&M/MARS company receives so many inquiries about their "M&M's" Chocolate Candies product that they maintain and distribute a FAQ list! And here it is: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Imagine a world where everything was black and white. How would you ever begin to describe emotions, events or appearances? Without color, you couldn't have the blues, paint the town red or feel in the pink. Color also enhances our perceptions of foods. A meal or snack with an appetizing color combination is appealing to all of our senses. In fact, without color, eating would be a very dull event. Each year M&M/MARS receives many inquiries about the festive colors of its products, especially "M&Ms" Chocolate Candies. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers: Q: What is the percentage of each color in "M&M's" Chocolate Candies? A: On average, "M&M's" Plain Chocolate Candies and our new "M&M's" Mint Chocolate Candies contain 30% browns, 20% each of yellows and reds and 10% each of oranges, greens, and tans. For "M&M's" Peanut Chocolate Candies, the ratio is 20% each of browns, yellows, reds, greens and oranges. We use the same ratio for our "M&M's" Peanut Butter and Chocolate Candies and "M&M's" Almond Chocolate Candies. Q: Are they the same in every bag? A: While we mix the colors as thoroughly as possible, the above ratios may vary somewhat, especially in the smaller bags. This is because we combine the various colors in large quantities for the last production stage (printing). The bags are then filled on high-speed packaging machines by weight, not by count. Q: How did you determine these ratios? A: Our color blends are determined by conducting consumer preference tests, which indicate the assortment of colors that pleases the greatest number of people and creates the most attractive overall effect. Q: Why are there no tan "M&M's" Peanut Chocolate Candies? A: In consumer preference tests, we found that the five-colored blend -- without the tan -- was preferred for the larger peanut candy pieces. The same holds for the almond and peanut butter varieties. Q: Why are there so many browns? A: The color blend was found to be the most suitable and pleasing for a chocolate product. Q: What about "M&M's" Brand HOLIDAYS Chocolate Candies? A: At certain times of the year, we produce and sell this product in festive colors appropriate to the season in addition to the regular "M&M's" which are available year-round. Presently, "M&M's" Brand HOLIDAYS Chocolate Candies are available four times a year. The percentages of each color is as follows: -- "Valentine's": 50% red, 50% cream. -- "Easter": 20% each of pastel yellows, pastel blues, pastel greens, pastel pinks and pastel purples. -- "Red, White and Blue": 33.3% each of red, white, and blue. -- "Christmas": 50% red, 50% green. Q: Do you use natural or man-made colors? A: We use man-made colors because they resist fading, impart no aftertaste and have a consistent, strong hue so "a little goes a long way". They are called "certified colors" because each batch is inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Q: Do you test these colors? A: By law, these compounds must be extensively tested and approved centrally by the FDA, not by individual users. Q: Are they developed especially for you? A: No, they are for use by all food manufacturers. Q: Which colors do you use? A: The FDA has permanently approved a range of food colors from which M&M/MARS selects a certain number for producing our own special color blend. The colors are declared by number on each wrapper. Q: At one point, you dropped the red candies, then brought them back. Why? A: Red "M&M's" were discontinued in 1976 due to concern over public controversy surrounding a particular food coloring. We did not use that controversial coloring to created red "M&M's", but we wanted to avoid consumer confusion or misplaced concern. In 1987, red candies once again appeared in the color blend of "M&M's" Chocolate Candies. We use red #40. Q: Do the different colors taste alike? A: Yes. Q: How do you put the "m" on every piece? A: With a process similar to offset printing. The specially designed machines are carefully calibrated so they don't crack the thin sugar shell. Q: Is there anything special about green "M&M's"? A: Although many consumers ask us about the special qualities of green "M&M's" Chocolate Candies, we cannot explain any extraordinary "powers" attributed to this color, either scientifically or medically.


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