M and M’s and Me

May 26, 2010

Here’s guest blogger Denielle, making everyone very, very hungry…

I am an admitted purist when it comes to my junk food. I do not like flavored chips – pita, bagel, potato, or otherwise. (Though I will make an exception for Lime Tostitos, which, in my opinion, are so far superior to the original that they are the standard and the plain corn version has become the “flavor” I do not enjoy.) I only like buttered popcorn, regular Special K (not the kind with freeze dried strawberry or banana) and soda or seltzer in its original form…none of this added lime/cherry/lemon/mandarin orange/etc. If I want to add fruit, I prefer the fresh version.

Therefore I was a bit skeptical when I saw PRETZEL M&M’s in CVS the other day. Maybe they’ve been out a while, but they just penetrated my sheltered suburban existence with a large, free standing display.*

“Why?” I thought to myself. “The original and the peanut are so great, what Brand Manager thought that M&M’s needed to diversify and cater to pretzel lovers? Was there really a gap in the market? Aren’t they just going to cannibalize their own sales?”

Fast-forward two days and I’m back at CVS. I took a look at my EXTRA BUCKS REWARDS from the last trip and found a “Free Pretzel M&M’s” coupon. Well, as much as I’m a junk food purist, I’m also a sucker for a good coupon. So I thought I’d give them a try.

I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Firstly, said Brand Manager did a good job of keeping the candy in the trademark M&M shape. I had imagined a milk chocolate-coated pretzel twist with a candy shell, but found milk chocolate-coated pretzel nuggets, which have the same shape as a peanut M&M. This was a positive as I believe the shell-to-chocolate ratio is one of M&M’s strongest selling points.

The candy possessed a really good sweet-to-salty ratio, too, which is the distinctive proposition of this new line (“Crunchy, Salty, Sweet” it says). The initial bite is harder than I would have thought. Not “chip-a-tooth” hard, but just harder than I would have anticipated.

Overall, at 150 calories for a 1.14 oz bag, it’s not bad… it’s less than the peanut M&M’s and boasts 30% less fat than the leading chocolate brands.

I still prefer the plain (now referred to as the “milk chocolate” flavor) and the peanut, but I won’t turn away a free bag of Pretzel M&M’s or make fun of them when I bump into their large display at CVS! Look for them in the blue bag (note: Crispy M&M’s, also in a blue bag, are now discontinued).

*Web research indicates that Pretzel M&M’s debuted at the Convenience Store Trade Show last October; M&M’s offered free samples via Facebook in mid-April; and the new candy will be in wide distribution this June.

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