If you're as weird as I am, when you open an M&M package, you sort your candies by color in cute little groups and eat them in rainbow order. This is usually a seamless plan — until you hit the blues and move on to the browns. Brown just doesn't come after blue.  So, where is the purple M&M? I've kind of accepted brown as a second best replacement, but wouldn't you think that purple candy would be more fun to eat than brown?

An M&M-igma

The idea for these bright candies came to Forrest Mars, the son of the maker of the Milky Way chocolate bars.  Mars wanted to make a chocolate candy that wouldn't melt in your hand when you were holding it, so he came up with the idea for a hard candy shell on the outside of the chocolate.  

When M&M's first hit the market in 1941, the original colors were red, yellow, green, brown, and, guess what? PURPLE. This variety of coated candies was sent around the world during World War II in its original cardboard tube packaging. Imagine walking into the movie theater today and getting your M&M's in a toilet paper roll.

The M&Mystery

Now, this is where it gets confusing. These colors seemed to be serving the M&M company pretty well. American GI's who had received the candies were hooked and wanted more when they returned. But, in 1949, M&M made a drastic change to their color palette. They removed the purple M&M and switched it to TAN?!

In no universe would I be more inclined to eat a tan candy than a purple one, but for some reason, someone thought tan was the way to go. And, it seems like it did better than we would assume. The tan M&M remained in the mix until 1995 when the company finally came to their senses. They decided that they totally did not need to different shades of brown candies in their vibrant mix. A good decision.

So in 1995, the M&M company held an open vote for all of its consumers to choose what color would replace tan. The colors they could choose between? Pink, blue, and my favorite, purple. 

The Modern M&M

Pop open a bag of M&M's today, and the results are apparent. We're not surprised that blue beat out purple (just barely in fact, with a whopping 54% of the vote). Since the color vote in 1995, they've had the same colors we know and love, which means no purple.

If you really want some Roy G. Biv (emphasis on the "v") action in your life, check out this bag filled entirely with purple M&M's. M&M's wouldn't be the same without blue, but I'm always slightly dissatisfied that my candies don't make a rainbow. At least now we know why purple has been a no-show all of these years.