HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- M&M'S(R) Candies is infusing some much-needed FUN into the red-hot dark chocolate category with the permanent introduction of M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies. The new offering combines smooth and delicious dark chocolate with the brightly colored M&M'S(R) candy shells that consumers know and love. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060821/CGM038 ) Dark chocolate has been cited by most industry-watchers as the trend in chocolate. In the past year, M&M'S(R) has received more than 30,000 inquiries from consumers clamoring for dark chocolate M&M'S(R) which were made available for a limited time last year. Consumer interest in dark chocolate M&M'S could come from the perception that other dark chocolate brands are a little on the serious side, knowledge gleaned from a recent survey(1) of more than 1,500 women. "We've received tremendous interest from consumers to make M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate a permanent offering," said Michele Kessler, vice president of marketing at Masterfoods USA. "M&M'S(R) and dark chocolate fans will love our new M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies because we combine the great taste of dark chocolate with a dose of M&M'S(R) fun!" It seems a little bit of M&M'S fun is something the dark chocolate category needs. In the survey, nearly 65 percent said dark chocolate is more "serious" than other chocolates. When asked a series of questions, even die- hard dark chocolate lovers admitted that it's more classical music (70 percent) than a fun reggae tune (7.4 percent) and more of a black tie event (54.2 percent) than a picnic (9.1 percent). In general, survey respondents said that dark chocolate is more sophisticated than fun and they overwhelmingly agree (85.5 percent) that they would be interested in a fun new way to eat dark chocolate. "Scream" for Dark Chocolate M&M'S(R) The brand launched its new ad campaign at New York City's famous Guggenheim Museum(2), with a print ad that interjects the "fun" of M&M'S(R) into an admittedly dark masterpiece, Edvard Munch's 'The Scream.' The ad features "Red," the iconic M&M'S(R) character, unexpectedly playing hopscotch in the background of the celebrated work of art -- bringing a bit of levity and sense of humor to the famous dark existential painting. Extending the fun a little farther and to herald the arrival of M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies, the brand is offering a reward of 2 million dark chocolate M&M'S(R) for the return of the painting, which was stolen on August 22, 2004 from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. Consumers can log onto http://mms.com to learn more. How to Spot "Dark" M&M'S(R) M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies will be identified with the word "Dark" printed underneath the "m" on many of the dark chocolate candies in the bag. The candies boast a smooth and delicious dark chocolate center in the same Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange and Brown color candy shells. These sweet treats can be spotted from afar by their new purple packing featuring "Miss Green" dressed in spike-heeled boots. M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies are now available nationwide in food, mass, convenience and drug stores. They are available in either 1.69 oz. singles, 3.14 oz., 14 oz. or 21.3 oz. bags and retail for $.55, $.99, $2.96 and $4.39 respectively. About Masterfoods USA Masterfoods USA, the United States food, snack and petcare operations of Mars, Incorporated, is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. With more than $5 billion in annual sales, the combined food, snack and petcare segments are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Hackettstown, NJ, Masterfoods USA employs more than 7,000 associates in the United States, with 15 manufacturing facilities nationwide. The company owns some of the world's favorite brands, including M&M'S(R) Brand, SNICKERS(R) Brand, UNCLE BEN'S(R) Brand, PEDIGREE(R) Brand Food For Dogs and WHISKAS(R) Brand Food For Cats. For additional information please visit the Masterfoods USA Online Newsroom at http://www.masterfoodsnews.com . (1) This research project was conducted online in order to assess attitudes and opinions about dark chocolate. A total of 1,522 women completed the survey, representing a cross-section of the U.S. female population aged 18 and above. All participants were members of the CyberPulse(TM) Advisory Panel - which has been selected to match US consumer demographics. Research was conducted in August 2006. The overall sampling error for this survey is +/- 2.5% at the 95% level of confidence. (2) The name and image of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum are used by permission of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
SOURCE Masterfoods USA