M&M’s, WW2, and Melting

image of pink and green m&m's

Did you know that M&M’s were issued to soldiers during WWII because they don’t melt?

M&M’s were first released in 1941 during WWII. They were inspired by rations given to soldiers during the Spanish Civil War. Forrest Mars Sr. of the Mars candy company had seen British volunteers eating small chocolate beads encased in a hard sugar shell during the war.  He was intrigued by the idea of developing a candy that could resist melting in high temperatures. When Mars returned to the United States, he partnered with Bruce Murrie, the son of a Hershey executive, to start production of M&M’s candies using Hershey’s chocolate.

During World War II, M&M’s were exclusively sold to the U.S. military. The heat-resistant and easy-to-transport chocolate was included in American soldiers’ rations. It was a popular treat among the troops. After the war ended and GIs returned home, they continued to crave M&M’s and the candy’s popularity grew. In 1954, M&M’s added the iconic “m” on each candy and began marketing it as a convenient and versatile snack that could be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.

The hard sugar shell not only prevents the chocolate from melting but also adds a satisfying crunch to the candy. M&M’s have continued to evolve and now come in a wide variety of flavors and colors. But their enduring popularity can be attributed to the innovative idea of a candy that doesn’t melt in your hands. This unique characteristic of M&M’s made it the perfect snack for soldiers during WWII, as it could be easily transported and enjoyed without the worry of the chocolate melting in high temperatures.

The partnership between Mars and Murrie proved to be a successful one. M&M’s quickly became a beloved treat among American soldiers and civilians alike. The candy’s popularity only continued to grow. Today, M&M’s is a household name around the world. From its origins as a solution to the melting problem faced by chocolate candies, to its widespread popularity as a convenient and delicious snack, the candy has cemented its place in history as a candy that doesn’t melt in your hands.