M&Ms has announced that they are launching a new variety of the popular candy line. M&Ms Caramel will join Milk Chocolate, Peanut and Peanut Butter in May next year.
Mars described it as “one of the biggest launches in the brand’s history”, after the new product took over two years to develop.
Earlier this year the company gave their customers a chance to vote on three potential new flavours, honey nut, coffee nut or chili nut. Coffee nut was the resounding winner, and the new flavour is already on the shelves.
To celebrate the brand’s 75th anniversary, this new caramel flavour will be added to the successful line-up. Although to some people the addition of caramel seems to be a no-brainer, when you consider how many other candy bars have caramel in them.
M&Ms has always experimented with different fillings but never caramel. In the past they have tried peanut butter, almond and even pretzel. Caramel, being an obvious choice, has not been included.
Mars is hopeful that this new flavour combination will be a hit with their loyal customer base:
“Caramel is extremely trendy. It’s a $2.2 billion flavor segment and the fastest growing segment in food right now. We want to be part of this category,” said Hank Izzo, Mars’ vice president of research and development, in an interview with CNN Money on the value of expanding into caramel.
“Chocolate and caramel is such a popular flavor combination, especially with the fans of M&M’S,” added brand director Tanya Berman. “In our research, our fans were enthusiastic at the possibility of a caramel variant.”
Mars is anticipating a great return from this new flavour option as it has already invested about 100 million in a new manufacturing plant in Topeka, Kansas to make the confection.
This is because the new filling needs a larger M&M than their predecessors to allow space for the soft, chewy centre.
The new facility will also need 70 new employees to run it.
“It was a big technological challenge for us,” said Hank Izzo, VP of research and development for Mars Chocolate North America. “We never before had a M&M lentil with a true soft centre, so we had to figure out how to not make the chocolate too sticky or too soft that it could collapse.”
Customers in the US already have their release date of May next year, but it is not known how long the rest of the world, including the UK will have to wait for the caramel versions to cross the pond.
M&M’s were created back in the 1930’s by the son of the Mars founder, Forrest Mars, Sr.
The name of the product, M&Ms, comes from the two initials of Mars and business partner Bruce Murrie.
M&Ms were first sold in 1941 where they were given to US troops fighting in the Second World War.
Caramel M&Ms will be available next May.