When Beth tossed me a bag of Peanut M&Ms at the office this week, I had a random thought about the famous candy. I posted it on Facebook and got a LOT more responses than I would have thought.

Why the colored shell?

It's not like they're Skittles, where each color is a different flavor. Peanut M&Ms all taste the same.

Why not spare us the unnecessary dyes (the package lists BLUE 1 LAKE, YELLOW 6, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, RED 40 LAKE, BLUE 2 LAKE, YELLOW 6 LAKE, BLUE 2) and cut your costs a bit.

Well, as it turns out, the Mars candy company is in the process of doing just that. In 2016, the company began a five-year plan to remove all artificial colors from its products.

As for the comments by my Facebook friends to my question about why the manufacturer bothers with different colors for Peanut M&Ms when they all taste the same...

Todd Trainham didn't "get it." He said "I've seen the commercials...they have different voices and heights and eyes."

"I don't see colors," said a hungry and equality-conscious Chuck Windhausen, "dump em from the bag to the mouth."

Derek Clark, the Executive Director of Broadway Utica, said, with a wink "the entire bag tastes better if you start with the blue."

One friend who shall go nameless to protect his professional reputation commented "they don't all offer a special ending like the green ones do." There was a rumor for years that the green ones were aphrodisiacs, which Mars capitalized upon with suggestive advertising and the creation of a sexy, green, animated M&M.

Tim Julian, the former Utica mayor, who never worries about what people say, added "maybe to the unsophisticated palate they taste the same."

John Wiley said it's "marketing," plain and simple.

He has a point. In their press release about their five-year plan, Mars admitted they're searching for natural color alternatives, because M&Ms fans associate the product with "vibrant" colors.

Really? Does it matter to you what they LOOK like?


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