M&M;’s are based an older British product called “Smarties”. Forrest Mars Sr. saw soldiers during the Spanish Civil War eating chocolate pellets that were coated in sugar to prevent chocolate from sticking to their fingers. After the rights were purchased by Americans Forrest Mars Sr. and R. Bruce Murrie in 1939, they had to reintroduce them to the domestic market with a different name because there was already a candy product sold in the U.S. under the name Smarties. To identify their new brand, they combined the first initials of their last names: M & M. M&M;’s were first sold in the United States in 1941. By World War II, American soldiers were given the candy by the United States Army because they were a convenient snack that traveled well in any climate; soon after this it was marketed to the public. M&M;’s soon became a hit because, in those times when air conditioning was not usually found in stores, homes, or the automobile, melting chocolate candy bars were a problem; but with M&M;’s, the candy coating kept the chocolate from getting messy.
In France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Peanut M&M;’s were known as Treets until 1990. The chocolate versions were called Bonitos until the brand became M&M;’s. This was partly due to the market dominance of the similar Smarties, which made competing under anything but a very high profile brand difficult, with the added risk of reducing sales of the existing Treets brand. Though Treets used the same “melt in your mouth not in your hand” slogan in the UK in the 1970s, this was transferred to Minstrels when the Treets brand was dropped.
In 1954, Peanut Chocolate Candies were introduced, while the M&M;’s brand characters and the famous slogan “The milk chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand” were both trademarked.
Read the Full History at M-Ms.com
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