M&M'S(R) Responds to Consumer Demand and Introduces the Fun Way to Eat Dark Chocolate

New M&M'S(R) Dark Chocolate Candies Arrive in Stores as a Permanent


Aug 21, 2006, 01:00 ET from Masterfoods USA

    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