M&Ms are colourful button-shaped chocolates that are famous for their candy-coated shells. The signature colours of M&Ms have become iconic over the years. So what colours are available in M&Ms candies? Let’s take a closer look.
The Original Colours of M&Ms
M&Ms were first created in 1941 and only came in five colours at the time. These were:
These colours were selected to replicate a colourful appearance while also allowing consumers to easily identify their favourite shades. The unique candy-coated shell was also designed to prevent the chocolate insides from melting.
Over the next several decades, the standard five colours of M&Ms remained largely unchanged. Consumers came to recognize the look and expect that combination when buying a bag of M&Ms. The original colours created an iconic, nostalgic feel for generations of M&M fans.
New Colour Additions
While the core five colours remained, Mars, Inc. did introduce some new M&M colours from time to time. In the 1970s, they debuted tan M&Ms. Then in the 1990s, blue M&Ms were launched followed by green in the mid-1995.
The most notable colour addition came in 1995 when Mars held a consumer vote and allowed the public to choose a new colour. The winning shade was blue, beating out pink and purple options. This consumer participation built buzz and engagement around the M&M brand.
The Modern M&M Colour Lineup
Today, the standard colour lineup for M&Ms includes:
These colours appear in the classic milk chocolate M&Ms along with other varieties like peanut, crispy, dark chocolate, and caramel. The unique candy shells identify the brand and allow consumers to easily spot their favourites.
In addition to the standard colours, limited edition M&Ms are also released for holidays and special occasions. These include pastel colours for springtime along with reds, greens, silvers, and golds for Christmas and other winter holidays.
Colour Distribution in M&Ms Packs
M&Ms are produced and distributed to contain a relatively equal proportion of each colour. This ensures fairness so consumers have an equal chance to enjoy their favourite colours in each pack.
According to Mars, here is the approximate colour breakdown for bags of original M&Ms:
There can be slight variations from pack to pack, but Mars strives to make each bag closely align to that breakdown. This ensures each colour is represented.
Custom Colour Orders
While stores are stocked with the standard colour mixes, Mars also provides custom orders for single M&M colours. This is popular for corporate events, weddings, parties, and promotions where clients want bags or bowls of all one colour.
The most popular colour for custom orders is red, followed by blue and green. Brown and orange are the least requested. White custom M&Ms are also popular for weddings.
The custom colours are the same recipes as the standard colours in terms of chocolate and candy shell ingredients. The only difference is packaging uniform colours in each order.
Nutrition Facts by Colour
All colours of M&Ms contain the same ingredients and nutrition facts. The shells and chocolate centres are identical. Here are the nutrition facts per ~47 pieces of M&Ms:
|240 calories||130 calories from fat|
|Total Fat 14 g||Saturated Fat 7 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g||Cholesterol 5 mg|
|Sodium 35 mg||Total Carbohydrate 21 g|
|Dietary Fiber 1 g||Sugars 20 g|
|Protein 2 g|
The colours themselves have no impact on the nutrition information. All the candy shells and chocolate centers contain the same ingredients regardless of the outer colour.
Food Dyes in M&M Colours
M&Ms get their vibrant colours from food dyes. Here are the food colourings used in each shade:
|Blue||Brilliant blue FCF|
|Green||Fast green FCF|
|Orange||Sunset yellow FCF|
|Red||Red 40 lake|
Mars uses these synthetic food dyes to create the signature M&M colours consumers know and love. The dyes are tested and verified safe for food use.
Special Edition M&M Colours
Beyond the classic colours, Mars also releases limited edition M&Ms in seasonal shades and tie-ins with pop culture brands. Here are some colours over the years:
- White – released for weddings and holidays
- Pink – for Valentine’s Day
- Teal – tied to the hit TV show Friends
- Purple – promoting the children’s show My Little Pony
- Aqua – supporting the animated film Minions
These special colours generate interest and excitement around the brand. The limited time products encourage consumers to buy before they disappear from stores.
Colour Changes Over Time
While the core colours have remained mostly consistent, there have been some tweaks to certain shades over the decades.
For example, the blue colour was lightened in 1995 to be more vibrant. The brown was also made lighter starting in 2004. And the red tone was deepened in recent years as food dyes were updated.
These minor colour changes reflect evolving consumer preferences and new technologies available for candy production.
M&Ms have sported their iconic colours for over 80 years, with six core shades that create the classic, recognizable look. The signature candy-coated shells come in a colourful mix within each pack and can also be custom ordered. While new colours come and go, consumers always expect to find that nostalgic blend of chocolate, crunchy candy, and colour with each bag of M&Ms.