In 1995, the Mars Company ran a promotion allowing the public to vote on a new color of M&M candy.  After a vigorous campaign, blue was victorious.  This has proven to be a disaster.  Blue is not a good color for candy.  Below are five reasons why blue was bad for M&Ms:

1 – Blue Cools the Appetite

Blue is an unappetizing color for certain types of foods.  Think about it.  How many of the foods you eat are blue?  Jesus Jose Gutierrez de Azul, Dean of Culinary Sciences at Penn State University explained:

It has been scientifically proven that humans instinctively find certain colors more appetizing.  Color groups connote different tastes.  Green, purple, and blue, while not repulsive, are LESS appetizing colors. Blues and greens are associated with fruits & vegetables.  Look at the way Subway® advertises: they use the color green to emphasize that their food is healthy and fresh, or full of vegetables.

On the other hand, warm spectrum colors such as red, yellow, and orange encourage appetite and appeal to the senses.  Chocolate is brown, which is a warm, earth color. Chocolate should never be colored blue.  The colors accompanying the chocolate should reflect that warmth, so that when you see the color of the shell, you have an idea of what the contents are.  When I see the color blue, I think of blueberries, grapes, or moldy cheese.  I don’t think to myself: Oh, chocolate, this is gonna be good! 

For an example of a good color scheme, check out Reese’s Pieces or Skittles.  The warm colors of Reese’s Pieces match the flavor of the filling.  The same goes for Skittles.  The cool, bright colors suggest the tangy, tart contents.  It’s a match made in Heaven.

2 – Got the Blues

Chocolate is fun and exciting!  Ask any girl -- eating chocolate makes her feel like she’s in love.  The color blue, however, promotes sadness.  This idea is communicated in popular expressions like “a case of the blues.”  Blues music evolved from downcast slave chants.  The term blue collar brings to mind an indigent, ignorant worker.  Blue is a downer. 

The effect therefore of unleashing billions of depressing, blue M&Ms has had an unsurprising, adverse effect on the National mood.  The number of suicides was charted with the amount of blue M&Ms sold.  The results are staggering.  The number of yearly suicides increases as the number of blue M&Ms increase.  The correlation coefficient between the two was over 99%, suggesting that the two are strongly correlated.

If you should wake up on the wrong side of bed or just not feeling yourself, chances are you have been feasting on some blue M&Ms. 

3 – Controversy

The decision to choose a new color of M&M should never have been decided by a popular vote.  Some things, like civil rights, are so important that they can’t be left up to the public.  The public has a history of making poor choices in election time (take the disastrous election of compulsive cleaner James K. Polk for example).  Recently uncovered documentation shows the Mars Company may have even tried to fix the elections when blue took an early lead.

Mars Company executives feared that blue, the bad boy of the chocolate world, could taint the image of M&Ms if elected.  Blue, a third party candidate, had a reputation among insiders as a womanizer and a drunk.  The public, however, was left in the dark regarding blue’s indiscretions.  Blue embarked on a creative campaign, including hiring popular actor Phil Hartman to voice an animated characterization of himself, in order to sway voters.  He promised reform and change.  Anti-lavender support helped propel blue into the public spotlight during late February of 1995.  This surge in popularity made it impossible for the Mars Company to drop blue from the list of candidates for fear of a public relations backlash.

John “Big J” Amaechi, CEO of the Mars Company at the time, was in a panic.  Documents showing possible side effects of blue food coloring additive (such as vomiting and lead poisoning) were leaked to the Washington Post.  Luckily for blue, these worries were overshadowed by the yellow 5 scare.

The Mars Company hired Aamir Sarpara, a Pakistani election observer, to oversee the ballot vote.  With blue still leading in the votes, Amaechi allegedly paid Sarpara to rig the elections in favor of pink.  It is believed that had the Pakistani coup d'état attempt against the government of Benazir Bhutto not distracted Sarpara, pink would have indeed been crowned the victor.  Some conspiracy theorists speculate whether Sarpara may have actually been a double agent for the blue campaign. 

4 – Blue’s Legacy

Blue’s legacy has been riddled with controversy.  The Better Business Bureau filed suit against blue for false advertising, claiming that blue M&Ms do melt in your hands.  The BBB demanded in the lawsuit that the classic slogan be changed to “tastes good in your mouth, won’t melt in a freezer.”  Further scandal erupted last year when it was revealed that Blue had a tryst with an underage nougat.  If Van Halen were touring today, they would be demanding that blue, not brown, M&Ms be left out of the jar in the green room.

In Conclusion

There are consumers today who do not remember the vote; they are forced to pay the consequences for the sins of their fathers.  It is time that we right the wrong.  Blue must be outed.  We call for no less than a public referendum with oversight by U.N. observers.  Some day we’ll all be singing Bob Dylan’s anthem, “look out the Saint’s are coming through, it’s all over now, baby blue.”


This article received contributions from Travis Miller, an ex-researcher for the Mars Company.  He was fired when he insisted the “m” letters on each candy be replaced with letters of the Greek alphabet.   He is the author of “Deal with the Devil: the Birth of Starburst” and “Melts in Your Coffin: Why M&M’s Are Bad For America and Freedom.”