The History and Triumphant Return of Crispy M&M’s!

CC_M&M's Crispy TITLE PLATE

After vanishing from American store shelves for the last decade, Mars has brought Crispy M&M’s back from the grave.  I first spotted their newly-minted bright green packages a month ago and by now they should be available across the country.

The return of a long-discontinued product is quite the confectionery occasion and one I wanted to acknowledge and herald here on the site.  But more than simply celebrating their return, I’ll be taking a look at the history and global scope of M&M’s Crispy through the various packages I have in my collection.  It’s colorful journey, so make the jump to check it out!

M&M’s Crispy were launched in the United States all the way back in 1998 during a time when the anthropomorphic M&M’s mascot characters were not included on small packages.  Rather, M&M’s packs simply featured their flavor identification along with images of the candy each contained, backed by a distinctive color scheme.  For their introduction, M&M’s Crispy came in a bright blue package that included a bold corner banner announcing they were “NEW”:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - NEW - 1.5 oz candy package - 1998-1999

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – NEW – 1.5 oz candy package – 1998-1999

The television campaign for the introduction of M&M’s Crispy featured Orange, the ever-wanted M&M’s Crispy mascot character.  Here are a few of those launch-year commercial spots:

Right around this time, the hugely popular M&M’s mascot cast began to be incorporated onto the standard packaging.    Although the Orange character was already the featured mascot for M&M’s Crispy, he appears to have not shown up on the packages right away.  So for early M&M’s Crispy packs, that meant a visit by the main M&M’s pitch men, Red and Yellow:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 10 percent more free - 1.65oz candy package - 1999-2000

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 10 percent more free – 1.65oz candy package – 1999-2000

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - Fix the Mix-Up Win One Million Dollars - 1.5 oz candy package - 1999-2000

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Fix the Mix-Up Win One Million Dollars – 1.5 oz candy package – 1999-2000

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - Fix the Mix-Up Win One Million Dollars - 14.5 oz candy package - 2000

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Fix the Mix-Up Win One Million Dollars – 14.5 oz candy package – 2000

As far as I can tell, the earliest appearance of the Crispy Orange mascot on actual packages came in 2000, at least on packs in the United States:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 10 percent more free - 15.95oz candy package - 2000

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 10 percent more free – 15.95oz candy package – 2000

The personality of Orange was one embodied by a paranoid fear, due to his delicious and coveted nature.  So you often found the Orange mascot portrayed as hiding or fleeing:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - Gift or Bribe instant win game - 1.5 oz candy package - 2001

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Gift or Bribe instant win game – 1.5 oz candy package – 2001

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 1.5 oz candy package - 2000-2001

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 1.5 oz candy package – 2000-2001

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 5.10 oz peg-bagged candy package - 2000-2001

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 5.10 oz peg-bagged candy package – 2000-2001

On this 2003 package, the Orange mascot is inexplicably missing:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - Support Special Olympics - Find All Gold - 1.5 oz candy package - 2002-2003

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Support Special Olympics – Find All Gold – 1.5 oz candy package – 2002-2003

The missing Orange mascot on that 2003 package was perhaps a spot of ominous foreshadowing, as in the United States M&M’s Crispy would soon be discontinued.

In the years after M&M’s Crispy were retired, the US market saw at least two alternative attempts at a crispy-style M&M’s offering.  The first was part of a 2006 premium boutique line that presented consumers with a Vanilla Crisp M&M’s candy:

Mars-Masterfoods - M&M's Vanilla Crisp - Special Edition NEW - 5.25 candy package - 2006

Mars-Masterfoods – M&M’s Vanilla Crisp – Special Edition NEW – 5.25 candy package – 2006

Then, in 2008, the texture returned with the Indiana Jones-themed special edition flavor, Mint Crisp M&M’s:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Mint Crisp - Adventures of Indiana Jones limited edition - 1.40 oz candy package - 2008

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Mint Crisp – Adventures of Indiana Jones limited edition – 1.40 oz candy package – 2008

Neither of those alternative crispy M&M’s lasted too long.  But in other parts of the world, M&M’s Crispy never went away at all.

Launching not long after the USA roll-out of M&M’s Crispy, Mars Canada got them as well.  Up north, the Orange mascot was included on those very first packs.

Canada - Mars Effem Foods - M&M's Crispy - New Nouveau - 42g candy package - 1998-1999

Canada – Mars Effem Foods – M&M’s Crispy – New/Nouveau – 42g candy package – 1998-1999

France got their own version of M&M’s Crispy in 2004:

France - Mars Masterfoods - M&M's Crispy - New Neu - 36g candy package - 2004

France – Mars Masterfoods – M&M’s Crispy – New Neu – 36g candy package – 2004

In 2005 Australia celebrated the M&M’s Star Wars M-Pire promotion, which in that country included Crispy, as you can see here:

Australia - Mars - M&M's Star Wars Episode III - Crispy Darth Mix - 200g candy package - 2005

Australia – Mars – M&M’s Star Wars Episode III – Crispy Darth Mix – 200g candy package – 2005

A couple of years later, the Dubai/UAE region received a limited edition run of M&M’s Crispy, which arrived in an unusual and distinctive red package:

UAE Dubai - Mars Masterfoods Middle East - M&M's Crispy Limited Edition - 42.5g candy package - 2007

UAE Dubai – Mars Masterfoods Middle East – M&M’s Crispy Limited Edition – 42.5g candy package – 2007

Still, in most parts of the world, M&M’s Crispy was chugging along in their standard vibrant blue packaging, featuring their eternally fearful Orange mascot.  And who could blame him?  Not only was Orange delicious, but in 2010 in Australia he was left nude, and his shell was auctioned off on eBay.

Here are a few more recent examples of International M&M’s Crispy packages from around the globe:

Greece - Mars - M&M's Crispy - 36g candy package - 2010

Greece – Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 36g candy package – 2010

German - Mars Europe - M&M's Crispy - Win 11 Minutes - World Cup football-soccer contest in-pack code - 240g candy package - 2010

Germany – Mars Europe – M&M’s Crispy – Win 11 Minutes – World Cup football-soccer contest in-pack code – 240g candy package – 2010

Australia - M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 160g candy package - 2012

Australia – M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 160g candy package – 2012

Australia - Mars - M&M's Crispy - Jumbo Share Pack - elephant mask - 340g candy package 2013

Australia – Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Jumbo Share Pack – elephant mask – 340g candy package 2013

Japan - Mars - M&M's Crispy - 42g candy package - 2014

Japan – Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 42g candy package – 2014

So while M&M’s Crispy hadn’t been available stateside in a decade, they remained on-sale elsewhere around the planet.  That lead to passionate American fans importing the treats to get their fix along with entertaining musings on their possible USA relaunch as well as a 2006 petition for their return.

Mars must have been paying attention because they finally decided to bring Crispy back to our shores.  Unveiling them just over a month ago at the New York City M&M’s store with none other than Vanessa Williams (the voice of M&M’s Ms. Brown), Crispy M&M’s had returned.

While M&M’s Crispy made a triumphant return to American stores, they had to pick up a new wardrobe to make their re-entrance.  You see, during the years of their absence, M&M’s Pretzel had been created for the US market and they not only took on Crispy’s distinctive blue package color but they also recruited the ever-fearful Orange mascot to represent them.

M&M-Mars - M&M's Pretzel - NEW - 1.14 oz candy package - December 2010

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Pretzel – NEW – 1.14 oz candy package – December 2010

With their old color scheme and mascot being employed by Pretzel M&M’s, the relaunch of Crispy would now be wrapped in a striking green package and represented by Red:

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - 180 calories - 1.35 oz candy package - December 2014

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – 180 calories – 1.35 oz candy package – December 2014

M&M-Mars - M&M's Crispy - Sharing Size - 2.83oz candy package - December 2014

M&M-Mars – M&M’s Crispy – Sharing Size – 2.83oz candy package – December 2014

Here’s a short spot featuring Red and Yellow announcing the return of Crispy M&M’s to “their fans”:

I happened to have a current Japanese M&M’s Crispy pack in my candy cabinet (which I had shipped from Japan late last year) when I found the new USA version last month, so I decided to do a quick candy comparison.  Though the experience of eating them was similar and very enjoyable on both accounts, the new USA M&M’s Crispy candies generally appear a tad smaller than their Japan counterparts.  What do you think?

Crispy Japan vs new USA Crispy comparison - January 2015

Crispy Japan vs new USA Crispy comparison – January 2015

Crispy Japan vs new USA Crispy - January 2015

Crispy Japan vs new USA Crispy – side-by-side – January 2015

I think it’s great that M&M’s Crispy have been resurrected for American audiences and I dig the color scheme they chose for their new package design.  M&M’s Crispy look great and it’s fantastic to have this M&M’s family member back on my local store shelves.

And that’s everything I’ve got to share on the history and return of M&M’s Crispy!  See you next time!

CC_M&M's Crispy CLOSING IMAGE

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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10 Responses to The History and Triumphant Return of Crispy M&M’s!

  1. Brandon says:

    Excellent! Those were tasty, so I’m glad they are coming back. The green package should really stand out on store shelves. But I wish they had gone with the Orange guy on the wrapper again.

    • Jason Liebig says:

      Brandon,

      I miss the Orange guy, too. But he IS gainfully employed on those Pretzel packs, at least. And I suspect for the time being, he will remain the mascot for Crispy in the other international markets.

  2. TG says:

    This was always one of their best “flavors”. Nice reporting! It’s amazing you have all the wrappers from over the years.

    • Jason Liebig says:

      Thanks, TG.

      It’s taken many years to track down the wrappers I have, though I’m sure there are many more that I don’t, especially if you consider the international markets where Crispy never ceased production. Fun, crazy stuff.

  3. Andre' B. says:

    I love the Crispy M&M’s, they are by far the best tasting and I love all of them except for the Pretzel kind. Please keep these crispy M&M’s on the shelf always.

  4. Lynn says:

    I was a big fan of Crispy M&Ms when they first came out, and I was so disappointed when they disappeared. I’m glad they’re back now, even if they don’t taste quite the same…or maybe my palate has changed!

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  7. Christina says:

    I’m so happy they’ve returned, I felt that the pretzel package to be was misleading when I bought it because looked exactly like the crispy, just to end very disappointed, its not the same not even close, why they did it? And yes, I think they reduced the candy size because I remember the crispy ones to be bigger before.

  8. J W says:

    In my Arizona market, the Crispy has disappeared from my shelves, I miss ’em already!

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