What Color Will M&M’s Be Now? — Mars Inc. Removing Artificial Colors From All Candy Products

There are some people who love to separate their M&M’s into different groups as categorized by the colors. What if M&M’s were all the same color, though? That is currently the problem that many are about to face as Mars Inc. has revealed that they will be removing all artificial coloring from M&M’s and all candy products.

In a press release revealed by Mars. Inc., synthetic food dyes are going to be removed from the entire human food portfolio. This is a huge step forward for parents and children and will likely span out to other food industry companies.

The company realizes that this is not something that will be done easily or quickly.

“Replacing artificial colors across all our products is a complex task. We expect it will take about five years to develop the full range of alternatives that guarantee the integrity and great taste of the products you know and love, and to go through the process of obtaining regulatory approval for all new ingredients in development.”

Mars Inc. has long had synthetic dyes and artificial coloring in some of their products, but public outcry is what’s essentially calling for the change. Change.org even had a petition that garnered more than 217,000 signatures in the hope of bringing about a difference in the way certain candies and food products are produced.

M&M's artificial food dyes mars inc.
[Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Mars Chocolate North America]

There are two incredibly different arguments for the uses of artificial coloring in foods. Many parents state that studies have linked ADHD, cancer, and other illnesses and ailments. Your News Wire reports that a number of artificial food dyes contain both human and animal carcinogens.

“For example, one carcinogen called benzidene is found in red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6, and although it is regulated, the FDA’s tests may be underestimating our exposure to this toxic compound. Caramel colorings, containing 2- and 4-methylimidazoles induce cancer in animals, as well. Tartrazine, a yellow “azo” dye (found in yellow 5) is genotoxic, meaning it binds to DNA and causes damage.”

Furthering the argument were issues like Yellow 3 causing mild allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to aspirin. There are other situations that have caused concern including Blue 2 linked to brain tumors in mice and Green 3 which was linked to bladder cancer in 1981.

Mars Inc. has the other side of the argument and has stated that there are no known or specified risks to human health. Still, the company is looking to make current consumers and possible customers happy with their products so they are looking to make the necessary changes.

In turn, that brings up the question — What color will M&M’s be?

M&M's color artificial coloring mars inc.
[Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images]

Due to the fact that this process of replacing all artificial coloring in its products made available for human consumption is a huge undertaking, Mars Inc. has said that it will happen over the course of the next five years.

Products like M&M’s, Wrigley, Uncle Ben’s, Juicy Fruit, Starburst, Life Savers and numerous others fall under the brand name of Mars Inc. Some products may not end up changing at all or being affected in any way, but then there are some which could be altered and readjusted in blatantly obvious fashion.

As for M&M’s, there should be no real change and Mars Inc. will likely have the transition perfected to natural coloring for products before making the switch or taking artificially colored products off of store shelves. Then again, they could run special packaging and colors like that above where they only have black or white or brown colored M&M’s.

As Food Navigator reported, Nestlé USA and Hershey have already committed their production ways to having no artificial dyes in the United States. Obviously, Mars Inc. not only wants to please customers, but also be on the same level as their competitors.

M&M’s are not likely to lose their coloring entirely, but they will be losing their artificial coloring. Mars Inc. is going to take out unnatural food dyes and parents around the country can rejoice at what can only be seen as a victory for them and their children.

[Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]