Thursday, January 14, 2010

M&M Color Distribution: A Non-Peer Reviewed Study

I got this memo from Mr. Goodbar. Please remember, he is NOT an accountant, nor is he a scientist. This information is provided for entertainment purposes only and is not admissible in a court of law.

I was cleaning up my files and I ran across the Peanut M&M tally sheet. It ran from March through December, and included 51 bags from the vending machine. The final spread for the average bag is as follows:

Orange - 4.98 pieces - 23%
Blue - 4.27 pieces - 20%
Green - 3.93 pieces - 18%
Yellow - 3.75 pieces - 17%
Red - 2.66 pieces - 12%
Brown - 2 pieces - 9%

Isn't it interesting that brown -- boring as it is -- is the least representative, presumably because it is the most expensive to produce. Does anyone really crave brown? Why not spend the money on additional red pieces to bring their total up to about 20% like all the others?

Well, Mr. Goodbar, you raise a lot of good questions there. Some I'm sure one or two many other people have had.

You assume several things in your assessment. First, you state that brown is "boring." Some may agree, but others, such as myself, enjoy the brown ones. In fact, I mourn the loss of tan M&Ms, which were replaced by-- ick!-- blue. Is brown more expensive to produce? I have no idea. But brown was one of the original M&M colors (along with red, orange, yellow, green and VIOLET! in 1941). So, in fact, brown has rightly earned its place in today's M&M packets. You suggest ditching the traditional brown in favor of more red. I'd like to bring your attention to this nugget of information, straight from The Lord God Himself , Encyclopedia Brittanica , Oprah Herself Wikipedia:
"Red candies were eliminated in 1976 due to health concerns over the dye amaranth (FD&C Red #2), which was a suspected carcinogen were replaced with orange-colored candies (this despite the fact that M&M's did not contain the dye; the action was purely to satisfy worried consumers). By 1987, the public had forgotten the scare, and the red candies were reintroduced, but they also kept the orange colored M&M's. They currently contain Allura Red AC (FD&C Red #40, E129). In Europe, Allura Red AC (E129) is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Norway."

I hope this answers some of your questions, although I know that the only thing I've managed to do is to assure that you'll never eat a red M&M again.


Ice Cube Queen said...

Mr. Goodbar and Madame Yum Yum,

Brown is my second favorite color! (Next to orange) I usually don't look at the color M&Ms......I just chow them down!!! Hmmm...not sure if I'll eat red M&Ms after reading this.
Thanks for the warning!

Pam Walter said...

But red is my favorite!

Candy Professor said...

I am with the "hate the blue, miss the tan" crowd. That blue is just too BLUE! Is there a color-theorist in the house? I'm thinking about this issue in relation to the color wheel; before blue, we had a mix dominated by secondary colors. Now with blue, red, and yellow, all the primary colors, does it change the overall color feel? Make the bag more like the colors in a pre-schooler's finger paint kit? Is blue less "sophisticated" than tan? There are several dissertations here.

Candy Yum Yum said...

All good questions, Professor. Any psychologists out there want to take a stab?