m no blue

It has been a decade since the addition of blue to the mix of M&MS®, and my consumption of the candy coated chocolates has decreased considerably. That's because I will not eat the blue ones. Giving them away usually results in someone asking why and that provides me with the opportunity to answer: I don't like blue M&MS®.

They don't taste any different, you say! Well, if they do, I certainly can't tell. But nonetheless, I don't like them. And, apparently, I am not alone. Some have even conducted experiments to prove that blue M&MS® are inferior to the other colors. It would be presumptuous of me to comment on the validity of these experiments as I am not a scientist, or even a candy expert.

no blue m and m

I am old enough to remember when Peanut M&MS® were all brown, but too young to remember when plain M&MS® included purple*. During my formative years, there were brown, tan, green, red, yellow and orange candies in each bag of plain M&MS®.

Think of that color mix. There was an aesthetic equilibrium at work. Three bright warm colors (red, orange, yellow) and two subdued neutrals (brown, tan) were contrasted and complemented by a cool, cheerful green. It was basically an analogous color scheme with the anomalous green for interest.

m NO blue

Enter blue. What was the purpose of adding a new color? In my mind it was a brilliant marketing ploy that, by democratic process, allowed consumers to choose the new color. Of course I did not vote for blue. I did not vote at all. If I had it would have been for no change at all. Is it just a coincidence that the blue M&MS® came along at the same time that other blue candies were flooding the kiddie junk food market? Who started that craze? What's up with blue "food" products, anyway? Even a blueberry isn't really blue, it's indigo. And inside? it's violet. And have you noticed what happens to a person's mouth after sucking on blue food? The blue food craze was undoubtedly a factor in the selection of the blue M&MS®. It was a marketing decision that not only did not improve the product, it made the product less satisfying, visually. Were M&MS® doing so poorly in the candy wars that marketing was allowed to trump design?

Not only does blue add another unnecessary dark value, it is a highly saturated hue and from the cool side of the spectrum as well. Green has lost its place as the anomaly and now competes with blue for attention. Worse yet, tan-that nice low/medium value neutral-is gone! No rest for the eye! Apparently, a designer was not consulted about the color change. Remember gestalt? The whole is greater than a simple sum of the parts? If you simply pull one M&MS® out of the bag at a time, you are probably not disturbed by the imbalanced gestalt. You really need to pour the entire bag into a candy dish to understand the aesthetics of the mix.


According to the official M&MS® website, each bag of Milk Chocolate (AKA Plain) M&MS® contains 24% blue candies. That means that my boycott of blue M&MS® has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of edible candies in each bag that I purchase. I could spin that differently, saying that I am willing to share nearly a quarter of each purchase with anyone who will take the blues off my hands. But I must be honest. My motive isn't altruism. I just don't like blue M&MS®.

*Purple was returned to the mix as the 7th color in 2002, but has since been removed. Isn't it time to rethink blue?

Kathy Lookingland, May, 2001
Revised, February, 2006




cre8vty (creativity)       © kathy lookingland 2001, 2006            11 November, 2006