Monday, March 19, 2012

Red M&Ms Really Do Taste Better

I know, there's no flavoring associated with the colored coating. It's just food coloring and sugar. My brain is hard-wired to interpret colors as flavors, and red is my favorite color, so i think that they taste better when they really taste exactly the same. In a blind taste test, i wouldn't be able to tell one color from the next.

Except that the red ones are clearly superior.

Notice how all the other colors are supporting the red one.

I have carefully researched evidence to back up my claims: Mars (the company that makes them, not the planet or the god) makes more red ones than any other color. I know this because i have started buying bags of their peanut butter M&Ms to keep in my desk for when i need an afternoon sugar/protein boost. I bought a bag at the end of the summer, and as it was running out, i replaced it with two bags of the "fall colors" candies. These were, in their turn, replaced by Christmas ones, which were replaced by Valentine's ones.

Each of these bags contains a variety of colors, but they all have red. Furthermore, they all have a higher proportion of red to other colors.

How do i know?

So orderly and delicious.
Because i like the red ones best, and because i am slightly (extremely) OCD, i eat my M&Ms in reverse spectrum order. I also count out the exact same number each time for my serving. This means that when i eat the non-seasonal ones, i eat two of each color: brown, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Twelve total. The fall ones have four colors: brown, dark yellow, red, and a dark purply-red. This means that i eat three of each of these, and i eat them in this order: yellow, brown, purply-red, red. Christmas is red, dark green, light green, and white; again, three of each, and dark green-light green-white-red. And Valentines are three each of white, light pink, dark pink, and red.

The significance of this is that when the bag is new, i always eat the same number of each color. But some colors run out faster than others. I compensate by eating more of the other colors to ensure that i eat exactly twelve every time. I often compensate with the red ones, because they are my favorite. Yet red is always the last color to run out.

You could explain this in one of three ways:

  • I am delusional.
  • Mars knows that people like red best (Kool-Aid's default color is red, as is Hawaiian Punch, Twizzlers, and many popular fruits like apples and cherries), so they make more red ones than any others in order to subconsciously trigger consumer's brains to think that M&Ms are inexplicably slightly better than all other candies. This is also why the original M&Ms spokescandy was a red M&M.
  • The Mars company is actually located on the Mars planet (the red planet) and owned by the Mars god (god of war).

I suppose it's possible that this is all coincidence. Maybe somewhere in the world, there is a person who never gets any red M&Ms, or at most, one or two per bag. Well, if that person is you, and you are reading this now, i am not going to share.

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