M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote!

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As promised in yesterday’s post, today I’m marking the United States Presidential Election by covering M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote promotion.  Make the jump to check it out!

In the Spring of 2016 Mars released not one, but three brand new special edition peanut flavor M&M’s to consumers; Honey Nut, Coffee Nut and Chili Nut.  It was a pretty big deal considering the none of the three flavors had ever been released before.

The idea behind the promotion and concurrent release was to allow folks to try all three and then vote for which one they’d like to see stick around.  Because while the flavor with the most votes would become an all-year-round offering, the other two would only last a few months.  So it went in the vein of so many of our contemporary singing and dancing competition shows, the flavor with the most votes would stick around while the others would go home.  It was a pretty novel concept for a promotion and a great way to introduce several new M&M’s flavor extensions.

Jumping back to 2015, months before releasing the new M&M’s Peanut flavors to retail and thus to consumers, some early sales sample packs were sent out to various media and candy industry folks.  These packages had significantly different packaging artwork and design so I thought I would lead with those since most people probably haven’t see them.   Here are the advance sample packs:

Mars - M&M's - Sales Sample - Chili Nut - Vote and Win - 1.74 oz sample candy package - 2015

Mars – M&M’s – Sales Sample – Chili Nut – Vote and Win – 1.74 oz sample candy package – 2015

Mars - M&M's - Sales Sample - Coffee Nut - Vote and Win - 1.74 oz sample candy package - 2015

Mars – M&M’s – Sales Sample – Coffee Nut – Vote and Win – 1.74 oz sample candy package – 2015

Mars - M&M's - Sales Sample - Honey Nut - Vote and Win - 1.74 oz sample candy package - 2015

Mars – M&M’s – Sales Sample – Honey Nut – Vote and Win – 1.74 oz sample candy package – 2015

I love being able to showcase and share rarely seen items like those sales sample packs as they can show insight into how the marketing and branding was shaped in the months leading up to the product’s release.   For me it’s truly fascinating stuff.

Finally, the new M&M’s Peanut flavors starting showing up in stores in May of 2016.  I first came across them late that same month.

M&M's 2016 Peanut Vote in store display photo

M&M’s 2016 Peanut Vote in store display photo

This next photo shows how busy it was for M&M’s releases earlier this year, as you can see the 75th Anniversary M&M’s assortment on-sale at the same time as the Vote packs.  I was buying a lot of M&M’s during this period.  It was really fun!

M&M's 2016 Peanut Vote in store display photo

M&M’s 2016 Peanut Vote in store display photo

Here’s a look at the three different standard-size retail packs of the New Peanut Flavor Vote release – note how different they are than the advance sample packs:

Mars - M&M's - Chili Nut - NEW - Vote - 1.74 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Chili Nut – NEW – Vote – 1.74 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Mars - M&M's - Honey Nut - NEW - Vote - 1.74 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Honey Nut – NEW – Vote – 1.74 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut - NEW - Vote - 1.74 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut – NEW – Vote – 1.74 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Beyond the 1.74 oz packs, the specialty Vote Peanut Flavors were also sold in larger 10 oz bags:

Mars - M&M's - Chili Nut - NEW - Vote - 10.20 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Chili Nut – NEW – Vote – 10.20 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut - NEW - Vote - 10.20 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut – NEW – Vote – 10.20 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Mars - M&M's - Honey Nut - NEW - Vote - 10.20 oz candy package - Spring 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Honey Nut – NEW – Vote – 10.20 oz candy package – Spring 2016

Here’s an in-store coupon featuring the Peanut Flavor Vote packs that I found attached to a retail dump at the time:

M&M's 2016 Peanut Flavor Vote 50-cent coupon

M&M’s 2016 Peanut Flavor Vote 50-cent coupon

I paid particular attention to this coupon as it included a graphic of a standard M&M’s Peanut pack with the “Vote” graphic call-out on it.

M&M's 2016 Peanut Flavor Vote 50-cent coupon - Standard Peanut Pack Graphic

M&M’s 2016 Peanut Flavor Vote 50-cent coupon – Standard Peanut Pack Graphic

For a time, I wondered if such a pack existed but after some research, I found no evidence that it was ever produced.  Likely it was created and included only on that coupon.

For those wondering, I did sample all three of the Peanut Vote flavors, and did so quite a bit.  I found the Chili Nut flavor to be the boldest and most unusual of the three and for that I was quite enamored with it.  Even so, I wondered whether such a spicy M&M’s flavor could sustain or for that matter be enjoyed regularly.  For fans of coffee-flavored confections, the Coffee Nut was a hit (I’ve never been a fan of coffee-flavored candy myself, but I could appreciate it).

Finally, I found the Honey Nut to be the most easily palatable variation on the standard M&M’s Peanut.  For that reason, and due to my finding the Honey Nut quickly sold out at locations I visited, I assumed that it would be the clear winner of the M&M’s Peanut Flavor election.  But my informal retail polling was wrong and I was mistaken.

When the winner was finally announced, it turned out that M&M’s Coffee Nut had received the most votes.  And so far, it has been brought back to stores in the 10 oz packs as well as a 3.27 oz Sharing Size – both featuring a “Winning Flavor” design:

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut - Winning Flavor - Sharing Size - 3.27 oz candy package - Fall 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut – Winning Flavor – Sharing Size – 3.27 oz candy package – Fall 2016

It should be noted that on the Winning Flavor packs, the back of the package highlights the brand of coffee flavor used in the product:

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut - Alterra Coffee

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut – Alterra Coffee

A quick Google search shows Alterra Coffee as a Mars-owned brand which makes sense.

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut - Winning Flavor - 10.20 oz candy package - Fall 2016

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut – Winning Flavor – 10.20 oz candy package – Fall 2016

So it would appear that M&M’s Coffee Nut will be with us for the foreseeable future, and that’s a pretty cool thing.

I do wonder if or when we might see Chili Nut and Honey Nut flavors revisited?  I think they were worthwhile extensions that could benefit from another limited edition run at some point in the years to come.

The journey from early sales sample to all-year-round product gave us three distinct M&M’s Coffee Nut packages to appreciate.  Here they are for comparison from first to last:

Mars - M&M's - Coffee Nut pack comparison

Mars – M&M’s – Coffee Nut pack comparison

Fun stuff, and that is everything I’ve got to share on M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote promotion!

With today being Election Day, I’ll be heading into the polls first thing this morning.  Looking beyond all of the understandable cynicism and exhaustion that comes with a long and challenging campaign season, I think it’s important to try to look for the positives.  It remains a privilege to be able to take part in the democratic process and while it undoubtedly is flawed and troublesome, it is something I think we can and should still take inspiration from.  Power to the people and all that.

See you next time!

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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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1 Response to M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote!

  1. Michael says:

    Awesome article. As always! Funny they started with BBQ and replaced it with Chili even before the promotion packages. I am a m&m wrapper collector from Germany. Is there any chance to get, buy, trade the thre sample packages? Thanks and Greetings, Michael

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