Troves of internet literature document the things that engineers and scientists do when left alone with candy. To this compendium we can now add a definitive investigation of M&M colors.Patented in 1941 by candy kingpin Forrest E. Mars, Sr., M&Ms were a shameless rip-off of UK treat Smarties, which Mars may or may not have seen British soldiers eating during the Spanish Civil War. (Debates on the relative merits of Smarties and M&Ms are also a big internet thing, but that’s a separate issue.)Since then, there have been many colorful (sorry!) moments in the M&M rainbow’s history: the 1976 coup replacing red with orange, after red’s original dye was found carcinogenic; red’s triumphant, non-cancer-causing 1986 return; the 1995 landslide popular election that installed favorite blue in place of boring, buzz-killing tan.
The color distribution of M&Ms, as determined by a PhD in statistics