M&M’S AND THE MILITARY – A TRUE AMERICAN CANDY
By Monica Sandoval
Almost everyone is familiar with the candy-coated chocolatey goodness of M&M’s, one of America’s most-loved treats. But not everyone may be familiar with the candy’s rich military history.
The original milk chocolate M&M’s, the brainchild of Forrest Mars, were created in 1941 exclusively for U.S. service members deployed overseas during World War II. Chocolate bars were already part of military rations, but the M&M’s candy shell made them a standout. The idea was that the candy shell would make it possible for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without the melted mess of regular chocolate bars. The candy’s original packaging also helped solidify M&M’s as a favorite among U.S. troops. Back then, M&M’s came in cardboard tubes similar to the plastic tubes that M&M’s Minis come in today. This made them easier to pour and to ship, and more durable in warm climates.
It wasn’t until 1947 that Mars Chocolate began to sell M&M’s to the public, further establishing the candy as one of America’s favorites.
This year, M&M’s has joined forces with Walmart and Operation Gratitude to send a million thank-you’s to our troops. Their “1 For You = 1 For The Troops” campaign has just one goal: to show gratitude to the brave men and women serving our country. There are two easy ways to get involved. You can share a personalized thank you photo or video on social media with #SayThanksWithM, and your thank you will be uploaded to Gallery of Gratitude’s American flag mosaic at www.Walmart.com/SayThanksWithM. In addition, when you buy a bag of red, white and blue M&M’s at Walmart, Mars will send a bag to deployed troops: 1 For You = 1 For The Troops.
Mars Chocolate has partnered with Operation Gratitude in recent years. The partnership gives Mars employees a chance to volunteer time and resources not just to active-duty service members but also to veterans, wounded warriors and first responders. Last year, in honor of M&M’s 75th anniversary, Mars donated $750,000 worth of products to Operation Gratitude for military care packages. For more information about Operation Gratitude, visit www.operationgratitude.com.
Even now, Mars Chocolate is still sweet on the military deployed around the globe. The company is a major supporter of the U.S. Military Meals Ready to Eat program, sending seasonal candies such as Snickers, Skittles and of course M&M’s to deployed troops, giving them a small taste of home.
M&M’s fun facts:
- M&M’s originally came in five colors: red, brown, yellow, green and violet.
- They were first imprinted with the signature “m” in 1950, however it was in black rather than the white “m” we’re familiar with today (the switch to white was made in 1954).
- In the early ’70s, a study linking Red Dye No. 2 to cancer caused Mars Chocolate to remove all red M&M’s from their packaging (even though they did not use Red Dye No. 2 in their production). Red M&M’s were removed for nearly a decade!
- In 1981, M&M’s were the first candy to be rocketed into space aboard NASA’s first space shuttle, Columbia, per the crew’s request.
- In the mid-’90s, the company decided to replace tan M&M’s with a new color. The public was asked to vote for either pink, purple or blue, and blue emerged victorious.
Show your love for America with some red, white and blue M&M’s this Fourth of July and try a fun, easy and delicious treat you can make with the kids. Thank you, Karen — an Army wife, mom and blogger at Raising Little Superheroes — for sharing this recipe.
Red, White and Blue Cookie Dough Dip
- 8 oz. cream cheese (softened, at room temp)
- 1/2 cup butter (softened, at room temp)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups red, white and blue milk chocolate M&M’s
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until it is soft and smooth.
- Beat in the powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the M&M’s
- Scoop the batter onto some plastic wrap and wrap it to form a ball.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- In a shallow bowl. add the remaining M&M’s.
- Unwrap the dessert ball and roll it in the M&M’s until it is completely covered.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve your Red, White and Blue Cookie Dough Dip with apples, pretzels, cookies or crackers.
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