Mars Chocolate North America celebrates ‘Big 7-5’ of M&M’s

ALLEN MINCEY Banner Staff Writer
Posted 3/4/16

Though there were no local parades, or actually any special events, associated with it ... this week marks the 75th anniversary of the first M&M’s.

Cleveland Site Manager Joe Burton said the …

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Mars Chocolate North America celebrates ‘Big 7-5’ of M&M’s


Though there were no local parades, or actually any special events, associated with it ... this week marks the 75th anniversary of the first M&M’s.

Cleveland Site Manager Joe Burton said the celebration was more of a national event, though there were some smiles, high-fives and cheers at the local plant on Thursday, the actual anniversary date. Through different names — M&M Mars, Masterfoods, etc. — the local plant has been located on Peerless Road since 1978.

Approximately half of the M&M’s being sold in the United States are made at the Cleveland facility.

Mars produced the first M&M’s on March 3, 1941, and many do not know that they were made to be included as military rations during World War II.

“For 75 years, our fans have made M&M’s the iconic and beloved chocolate brand it is today,” said Berta de Pablos-Barbier, vice president of marketing for Mars Chocolate North America. “We aren’t satisfied with solely looking back on our history as America’s favorite chocolate candies. We are looking to the next 75 years of innovation and transformation to engage, entice and excite consumers of today and tomorrow.”

The celebration is a yearlong one, de Pablos-Barbier said, and will feature many birthday surprises on its social media pages. One of those will be the opportunity for consumers to determine the next M&M’s flavor to hit store shelves. The campaign is being called “Celebrate with M.”

This yearlong celebration has already begun with a remake of the Sammy Davis Jr. classic “Candyman,” and it doesn’t stop there.

Burton said packaging will be changing a bit to former styles. This retro packaging will be inspired by the history of the company from the 1940s to 1990s.

The “flavor vote” began on Tuesday and will continue through June 17, and fans will have the chance to vote for new flavors to compete against the original peanut M&M’s. The three contenders include these flavors: Chili Nut, Honey Nut, and Coffee Nut. These possible flavors will be limited editions, and will not replace the peanut M&M’s.

To honor M&M’s origin as a military ration during World War II, Mars Chocolate will donate $750,000 worth of product to Operation Gratitude for inclusion in military care packages throughout 2016.

Locally, both Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland signed a proclamation commemorating Thursday, March 3, as M&M’s Brand Chocolate Candies Day in the community.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said, “I congratulate M&Ms for 75 years of making some of the best candy in the world — and I congratulate the more than 800 Tennesseans who work at the Cleveland plant for being such an important part of that great legacy.”

State Sen. Mike Bell has been promoting the anniversary through social media, and both state Reps. Kevin Brooks and Dan Howell have also been supportive of the local plant and all that it does for the Cleveland community.

Mars Chocolate North America’s Cleveland plant has traditionally donated candy to Treat Street at the Downtown Halloween Block Party, and this past year, an M&M’s Pop Up store was opened at the old FSG bank site in the Village Green. Proceeds from the sale of items specifically mentioning Cleveland were donated to MainStreet Cleveland.

In fact, Burton served as president of MainStreet Cleveland at one time, and many at the company have donated time to several causes within the community,.

“Cleveland has been good to us, and we appreciate being honored by the mayors and others during this anniversary,” Burton said. “Here’s to another 75 years, and to many future years in Cleveland.”


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