After 11 Years, Red M&Ms; Are Back

Associated Press

Red M&Ms;, banished 11 years ago because of misplaced concern over food dyes, are once again taking their rightful place among the tan, brown, yellow, orange and green.

The return of the red candies that melt in your mouth but not in your hand was prompted by a national outcry that included thousands of letters to the manufacturer and the formation of college campus societies, a spokesman for the Hackettstown-based M&M-Mars; said Wednesday. A few stores already have the red ones in stock now, but most won’t carry them until February. About 20% of the 100 million M&Ms; made each day will be red, the company said. The attachment is purely emotional because M&Ms; of all hues taste alike. “It’s great fun and it’s part of America,” said M&Ms; spokesman Hans Fiuczynski. “That’s our best explanation” for the popularity of red M&Ms;, he said.

The company has received letters from World War II veterans who remembered red M&Ms; in GI rations and from people who learned how to count in grammar school with the candies, he said.


M&Ms;, a hard round coating over a chocolate center, were first made in 1941.

Red M&Ms; were discontinued in 1976 because of “confusion and concern” over Red Dye No. 2, which was banned by federal regulators as a health risk, said Fiuczynski. Red M&Ms; contained Red Dye Nos. 3 and 40, which are considered safe. Correspondence surged during the last two Christmas seasons when M&M-Mars; sold a limited number of packages of green and red candies for the holidays.

People wrote, “Why do I have to buy a whole year’s supply?” Fiuczynski related.

“How great! How wonderful!” was one food and beverage industry analyst’s reaction to the news of the return of red M&Ms.;

“I always loved them and I always missed them,” said Marvin Roffman of Janney Montgomery Scott Inc. in Philadelphia. “As a loyal M&Ms; eater, I welcome the red color. It cheers me up to eat a red M&M.; I’m going out to buy a package right now.”

More seriously, Roffman described privately held M&M-Mars; as the largest candy company nationwide and praised the quality and value of its products.