Whatever Happened To Purple M&M's?

Despite the fact that they all taste exactly the same, everyone has a favorite M&M color. Some swear that the brown M&M's taste way more chocolatey, others sort them based on their favorite color, and around the holiday season, the green and red ones just hit differently. If purple happens to be your go-to choice for all candy, chances are you probably don't find M&M's all that appealing, because although they existed once upon a time, purple M&M's have long been discontinued.

When M&Ms were first introduced in 1941, purple M&M's were a standard in every M&M package, as Spoon University explains. At the time, M&M's were still sold in tubes, and there were only five M&M colors: red, yellow, green, brown, and purple. It wasn't until 1949 that Mars, the candy manufacturer behind M&M's, started experimenting with other colors — or color, to be more specific. Tan was ultimately chosen as the replacement for purple M&M's, and remained in the mix for well over four decades until 1995.

Mars has a history of changing up M&M colors

In 1995, the tan M&M's succumbed to the same fate that the purple M&M's did in 1949, and were replaced with blue M&M's, as reported by The Associated Press. This came after two months of voting by the American public, who voted in favor of a new color instead of the comeback of the purple. Purple's comeback didn't happen until 2002, when, according to CNN Money, Mars announced it would be adding yet another M&M color, again chosen by the public.

Voting occurred on an international scale this time, with purple ultimately winning 41% of the popular vote. Aqua was the runner up at 37%, while pink came in at 19%. Unfortunately, however, the 2002 return of the purple M&M's was fairly short-lived, as it was only part of a limited-time marketing campaign. These days, while you can technically get purple M&M's in bulk at M&M's World, or settle for the pastel purple M&M's in the Easter or Valentine's Day M&M's, it seems Mars isn't too keen on making purple a permanent addition.