M&M’s has created a market share that has yet been unmatched by the
competition. In 2004, M&M’s achieved an impressive $201 million in candy sales in the
U.S. alone, making it the number one selling bagged or boxed chocolate candy in the
country, beating out its nearest competitor, Hershey’s Kisses (Candy Industry). The
success of M&M’s is due to many factors such as attractive and unique advertisements
and promotions, customer participation and feedback defining the produced output, and a
wide range of customized product possibilities.
The creation of M&M began when Forrest Mars Sr. made a trip to Spain during
the Spanish Civil War (M&M’s website). While there, he came across some soldiers
who were eating chocolates pellets covered in a hard sugar coating. The main purpose of
that hard sugar coating was to maintain the chocolate freshness and prevent it from
melting. Upon his return to the United States, Mars Sr. returned to his kitchen and
invented the recipe for M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy (M&M’s website). As could be
deduced from the name, the founder is a member of the Mars family, the group
responsible for Mars Inc (M&M’s website). Mars today owns many companies
producing and distributing products worldwide, one of which is MasterFoods; which
produces M&M’s (www.masterfoods.com).
By late 1940, M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy became widely available to the
public and received a great reception (M&M’s website). The public was impressed with
the unique qualities of the product that were previously unmatched in the market. It was
soon after that the candies became a favorite among American Soldiers serving in World
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 1
War II, for the same reason that they were popular in Spain (M&M’s website). They
were durable candies that could withstand heat and wouldn’t perish over a long journey.
By the 1950’s, the intense television and advertising campaigns designed to
market M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies had made them a household name (M&M’s
website). In 1954, M&M’s expanded the brand offering and introduced M&M'S Peanut
Chocolate Candies; sales of both varieties continued to grow (Candies with Attitude).
This expansion gave way to the creation of the defining brand
characteristics of today; the characters and the slogan. Red and
Yellow made their debut in 1954, bringing with them the slogan, “The
milk chocolate melts in your mouth not in your hand (M&M’s website)." Both the
characters and the slogan became the basis for continued TV and radio advertisements.
Several decades later, the company determined it was time to expand its product
offerings to provide customers with seasonal options. In the early 1980s, a special
holiday line of M&M'S Chocolate Candy products was launched (M&M’s
website). The new seasonal color blends included red and green colors for
Christmas, and pastel colors for Easter. Also in the same decade, M&M'S
Brand accelerated its international expansion entering the European, Asian and
Australian markets (M&M’s website). In 1981, M&M'S Chocolate Candies were chosen
by the first space shuttle astronauts to be included in their food supply (M&M’s website).
M&M'S Chocolate Candies are now on permanent display at the space food exhibit of the
National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. (M&M’s website).
In the 1990’s a huge marketing event surveyed Americans about the new color to
appear in the traditional Chocolate Candies color mix. Blue color earned his position
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 2
inside the color mix with 54% of the total votes (M&M’s website). Also during this
decade, three other varieties were brought to the M&M’S Brand portfolio, the Peanut
Butter Chocolate Candies, the Almond Chocolate Candies and the Chocolate Mini
Baking Bits (M&M’s website).
In 1996 a strong advertisement campaign utilizing the M&M’s Brand Characters
catapulted the M&M’s Candies Chocolate popularity and as a result of this campaign,
which gained the first position among sixty different campaigns rated by USA today, the
new characters popularity became synonymous with Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson
(M&M’s website). During 1997, M&M Worlds, the brands own retail store, launched its
grand opening in the city of Las Vegas ( M&M’s Collectors Club). This unique store
brings to the customers all the colors and fun of M&M’s Chocolate Candies into a one of
a kind retail merchandiser, ranging from T-shirts, designer dresses, jewelry and furniture.
In 2001 and 2002 M&M’s brand not only they launched a new global website to
reach foreign markets, but they also conducted the M&M’s Global Color Vote were
M&M customers from 200 different countries voted for a new M&M Brand Color1
http://money.cnn.com/2002/06/20/news/companies/mandms/ June 20, 2002: 9:08 AM
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 3
M&M’s Qualities - Product Features
The combination of qualities that sets M&M’s candies apart from all other
candies is unique and instantly recognizable. M&M’s candies are most noted for their
ability to deliver chocolate inside of a hard candy shell that allows the candies to
withstand temperatures that would melt conventional chocolates. The white stamped
“M” that became the official indicator of authenticity in 1954 (Inventor) is still an
immediate identifier for M&M lovers worldwide.
The packages and the candies are frequently modified to coincide
with all major holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, special
occasions such as weddings and baby showers, and current events such as
the Star Wars movies and NASCAR racing. Each of the modified units
includes a redesigned package and a special assortment of M&M’s colors.
With over 21 colors available today, there are sure to please any and every
M&M’s consumer; colors are shown in the image to the right.
The M&M’s packaging and website currently advertise
the option for consumer to choose custom colors and messages
on their M&M’s. Customers may have the unique candy
inscribed with up to two lines each containing up to eight
characters. This process allows consumers to feel as thought they are a
part of the creation process and helps them to feel a bond with the brand.
Various packaging sizes come in small and larger sizes to accommodate trick-or-
treaters, party throwers, and collectors alike. M&M’s are also sold in tins, dispensers,
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 4
and other collectible memorabilia. In many cases, the candy that comes with the M&M’s
collectibles is more of a complement to the product rather than the final desired product.
MasterFoods produces many varieties of M&M’s to accommodate a wide range
of consumers. Different varieties of M&M’s include: milk chocolate, peanut, peanut
butter, crispy, almond, and dark chocolate. Different sizes of M&M’s include: minis,
mega, and M-azing (candy bar version). From time to time, MasterFoods will
temporarily introduce a new variation of candy for a specific current event or
sweepstakes. There has been a strong push lately to extend the product line past standard
M&M’s that have been around for over fifty years.
MasterFoods has also extended the M&M’s brand to incorporate products that
take advantage of the M&M’s brand name and identity. M&M’s dispensers, characters,
boxes, banks, shirts, and hats are just a few examples of M&M’s memorabilia that is
available not only online, but also in toy stores, grocery stores, and dedicated M&M’s
Mars vs. Hershey - Current Competition
The chocolate industry is extremely competitive. Regarding the contest between
Mars and Hershey, the president of Hershey Chocolate, Joseph Viviano, said, "We're just
as bad as Coke and Pepsi - probably worse . . . it’s just that we don't talk about it, so
nobody pays any attention (Brenner, p. 11).” Richard
O'Connell of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association
stated, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with
something new in the candy business? I don't blame the
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 5
industry for being paranoid; there's a lot at stake…there's only so much you can do with
chocolate, peanuts and caramel - if you get my drift (Brenner, p. 12).”
The two companies are bitter rivals and would love the opportunity to gain more
market share. There have been many attempts at legal
actions, but both companies generally agree to either
settle their differences out of court or simply ignore the
issue entirely. The reason for this unusual behavior is
that customers’ perceive candy companies and their
products as the embodiment of fun and happiness (Brenner, p. 14).
In addition to industry competition, M&M’s
faces direct competition on its product line. In Wal-Mart, Woodburn, OR, November 25, 2005
Top row: Hershey-ettes, bottom row: M&M’s
1954, Hershey-ettes (Product Timeline) were
introduced to directly compete and are very similar to M&M’s. They have not been very
successful and are generally only available for consumers around the Christmas season.
In a new effort to directly compete with M&M’s, Hershey has extended their
well-known Hershey Kisses brand; on November 17, 2005 Hershey’s launched a new
sales campaign (Introducing) with a new product—Hershey's Kissables. The fact that
Hershey is targeting the M&M’s market is evident from a quick review of their press
release (Introducing), the sponsorship of the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series race at
Daytona International Speedway (Hershey's Kissables), the physical qualities of the
candy—such as the choice of colors, and their merchandising efforts (More Holiday
Gifts) as seen in the picture taken at Wal-Mart.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 6
In 2003 a new competitor to M&M’s emerged. Jelly Belly already had small
candies similar in size to M&M’s, but did not have any products in the chocolate side of
the confectioning market (New Product Updates). The Jelly Belly candy, called JBz,
were introduced to take a much closer aim at Mars’s M&M’s market, even shaping the
candy similarly like M&M’s. According to the Jelly Belly candy makers, “JBz
Chocolate Candies pair chocolate centers with candy shells with twelve delectable
flavors.” (JBz Chocolate Candies) The official flavor count,
however, is now up to twenty as Jelly Belly continues to
expand their product line. JBz candies come in many of the
same colors as M&M’s and even include a white JBz decal
similar to the M&M’s white stamp.
As more companies release products that are similar to M&M’s, it will become
increasingly difficult for Mars to continue to command the same level of market share in
the chocolate candy industry and the product has the potential to get lost in the
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 7
The brand is seen as a family brand that is wholesome, fun and that everyone can
enjoy. Adults have grown up with the M&M’s brand and are able to share and enjoy it
with their kids. While M&M’s would like to appeal to a mass market, this is simply not
possible. Generally middle income families are the ones who purchase M&M’s candy.
There has been a more concrete marketing campaign with the introduction of Mega
M&M’s, M&M’s candy are trying to appeal specifically to an adult market, introducing
colors such as “come in six new hues that appeal to adults: maroon, teal, blue-gray, beige,
gold and brown (M&M’s website).”
There are two kinds of markets for the M&M’s brand; those who consume the
candy on a regular basis and those who consume the candy on special occasions. People
who consume the candy on a regular basis are typically children and families.
People who consume the candy on special occasions such as Halloween, Easter
and Christmas are more apt to buy M&M’s brand candy in the larger packages that come
in special holiday colors; this is what M&M’s is best known for. Middle class mothers
throwing holiday parties are in this market segment. They see M&M’s as a special treat
for the holidays, with ranging colors appropriate for each holiday.
M&Ms comes in a variety of candy types, colors, sizes and that’s just the candy
itself! M&MS also has 30 licenses to promote other products such as sweatshirts, M&Ms
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 8
dispensers and plush dolls of the Spokescandies (M&M’s website). Recently, M&Ms has
allowed customers to customize their own bags of M&Ms by visiting the website and
picking out their preferred colors and even personalized inscriptions. What M&Ms is
perhaps best known for is having their candies seasonally appropriate several times a
year. Pastel colors for Easter, red and green for Christmas and orange and black for
Halloween are just a few of the color types offered for different times of the year. This
does not include the special promotions offered during other times of the year which have
included in the past: tie-dyed colors and black and white.
Pricing for M&M’s is modestly priced. This is an affordable candy that everyone
can afford and enjoy. Gourmet chocolates on the other hand, which can run $30 per
pound are targeting a higher class of customer. Single serving bags are typically under
one dollar. Large bags of M&M’s range from $2-$3. To buy a customized bag of
M&M’s will be a little more expensive. This selection gives you the option to put a
customized message on your candy and the ability to pick up to two customized colors.
The price for one 8 ounce bag is $9.49, but the minimum quantity allowed is 4 bags,
making the minimum total $37.96 (M&M’s website). The upside to this is that M&M’s
does offer free shipping for your customized product.
M&Ms in the distribution channel is sold at the retail level. Currently M&MS is
sold at many, if not all, food retailers throughout the U.S. and International markets. It is
a ubiquitous product that is not hard to find. Many of their branded products can be
found at these retailers as well, but the main place to find them is on the Internet at
www.M&M’s.com. M&Ms has made their products easily accessible to their consumers
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 9
to make the purchasing process less difficult. This also goes along with the fact that
M&Ms heavily promotes their products in many different advertising mediums, so it only
makes sense that their products are easy to find.
M&MS has many different advertising mediums applied to their brand.
Television commercials, ads in magazines and promotion on their various websites are
just a few. In promoting their product, they use the Spokescandies, Red and Yellow,
along with others from time to time. Using relatively the same format in promoting their
product makes the consumer more aware that the product advertised is M&Ms and will
be more likely to buy it because of that brand awareness. One of the unique M&Ms
brand does in their promotion is include in the consumer in the decision making process.
Promotions such as voting for a new favorite color, finding a missing color continuously
makes M&Ms fresh and new to the customer and results in loyal customers.
Brand Community Relationships
The construction of the relationship between customers of M&M’s stems from a
common passion for M&M’s Brand and what it stands for. What does M&M’s stand for?
Family, wholesome fun, quirky, generations growing up with M&M’s together are the
cornerstones of America’s favorite candy, and the basis on which customer relationships
are built on. These relationships span genders, ages, cultures, and countries, and enable
people, regardless of where they come from, to relate to one another through the M&M’s
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 10
Customers have demonstrated their relationships by essentially using M&M’s as a
conversation piece. They find out that they have their love for M&M’s in common, and
can share stories about their various experiences, collections, and thoughts about the
brand. The types of bonds can be formed over seemingly arbitrary things, such as
individuals’ favorite colors of candy, the order in which they eat them or simply their
favorite variety (Almond, Peanut, Plain, etc.) can be very interesting to the die-hard
customer who thinks they have the most original M&M’s story.
Around the world there are clubs that M&M fans can join, including collectors
clubs and forums where they can interact with other who share their passion. The official
one (Collector’s Club) offers membership to avid fans who wish to meet others who
share in their interests, determine more ways to expand their collections, and enjoy their
hobbies together. This is facilitated by group get-togethers at tradeshows, picnics,
meetings, and conventions. Similar to other consumer brands, the M&M Brand has
developed a following that has created subgroups within their groups. There are regional
chapters of the club, each holding get-togethers outside of the national organization’s
annual convention which is held every year in Las Vegas, home of the M&M World
Museum. Even if it isn’t an official club chapter, members often convene locally and are
able to discuss M&M related issues and experience a sense of alliance around their
M&M consumers have been able to develop a very close bond with the M&M
brand. Through the vibrant colors, comical characters, and entertaining commercials and
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 11
promotions, M&M’s exudes an image of fun and youthfulness that can be enjoyed
regardless of age. With a brand awareness of 99% (Candies with Attitude), it goes
without saying that customers are aware of M&M’s and their products, but along with
that, they have grown to create an association with the brand that goes beyond just being
their favorite candy.
Although the signature “M” has become a trademark of the M&M’s brand; the
most recognized symbol of the brand has become their “Spokescandies,” the characters
that grace all M&M’s packaging, advertisements, and memorabilia. Red and Yellow
were the first to be introduced to public in 1954 (Candies with
Attitude), and today there are several candies representing the
brand. Each of these characters has unique personalities,
which customers can learn more about by visiting the M&M
website. Each of the characters; Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange, and M&M Minis,
have their own profile on the site, along with games and picture of each.
These characters have been proven a hit with consumers. Last year the, candies
were voted the favorite mascot in America, receiving over 700,000 votes and their own
star on the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame (Sutter). As this demonstrated, the characters
are able to appeal to customers of varying demographics, whether male, female, young,
and old, etc. Consumers can likely find a character that is similar to them, and strangely
enough, relate to the fictional candies. The positive connection customers make between
the characters, the brand, and themselves develops a unique relationship with the brand
that is appealing to a wide assortment of individuals. The difference between M&M’s
and competitors, such as Hershey’s Kisses, is the ability to put a face with the brand-
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 12
name. The M&M’s Spokescandies are personas that customers can visualize, and each
has a personality of their own. This enables customers to remember the Spokescandies,
thus remembering M&M’s before other brands. This association makes customers more
apt to purchase the brand.
There is much more to the M&M website than simple biographies of their
Spokescandies. This is a fully interactive site that customers can visit to perform a
number of activities. It serves as an online vendor of candies and memorabilia, a place to
learn the history of the brand and more about the company, a news source to keep up with
what is happening in the M&M world, and fun and games site, and a place to find and
share M&M recipes. The website is there to facilitate a relationship between the
customer and the brand that they want to learn more about.
Not only does the brand relate to customers in the U.S. market, but international
customers as well. The website offers worldwide access by allowing the consumer to
choose the country they represent, and visit that specific site. There are twenty three
countries to choose from, each customized to fit the country’s language, current
promotions, pertinent news, and other cultural aspects that vary around the globe.
Establishing the often overlooked difference between consumers in different areas of the
world gives M&M’s an upper hand because they are able to appeal to an even bigger
customer base. There are many interactive areas telling stories behind M&M products,
such as the creation of the newest brainchild, Mega M&M’s. There has been tremendous
amount of effort that has gone into the creation of the website, and it is merely for the
entertainment of the customers who are interested in learning more about the brand.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 13
In the past decade M&M’s has made an appearance in a rather unlikely place that
back in 1954, no one probably would have expected to see them; the race track. M&M’s
became the primary sponsor of NASCAR in 1998 (Tapping into New Fans), and now
America’s favorite candy and their favorite sport “have formed a partnership”. This
formation has not only been financially
beneficial, but has also informed both M&M’s
and NASCAR of an audience that will be
consumers of the products. Research has shown
that fans of NASCAR are three times more
likely to purchase products from companies that
sponsor the sport (Tapping into New Fans). Conversely, if a fan is particularly loyal to a
certain brand, they will be more likely to cheer for the driver who represents that
company. This brand association will benefit M&M’s brand enormously. NASCAR
enthusiasts who are fans of Elliot Sadler, the driver of the M&M’s car, will become more
likely to purchase the M&M’s brand, as well as current M&M’s consumers will become
bigger fans of Sadler. This has provided a mutual appeal for both parties in their attempts
to grow their firms.
As a part of their sponsorship efforts, M&M’s has developed an extensive
licensing network that creates merchandise associated with the sport. As of mid 2004,
the partnership had 21 licenses for merchandise associated with M&M’s/NASCAR
(Tapping into New Fans). This partnership has created a relationship between the
customer and the brand because it has combined two brands that are of interest to a wide
variety of consumers.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 14
It isn’t just M&M’s/NASCAR merchandise that is licensed and marketed to
customers. M&M has a separate licensing entity that produces $170 million in sales
annually through 30 licenses that create a plethora of products sold worldwide (Candies
with Attitude). The relationship that customers have developed with the brand is
apparent in the fact that they purchase an enormous amount of merchandise in many
forms, simply to be wearing the M&M logo, or the characters.
There is no doubt that MasterFoods, the company behind the M&M’s brand, has
made a continuous effort to make connections and form relationships with customers.
The customers are without question the first priority, and MasterFoods strives to meet
their wants and needs, while making the M&M experience fun for all ages. There is a
definite positive relationship between customers and the company, because the customers
feel valued and that they are a part of the organization. In order to create this image of
customer concern and attention, MasterFoods asks for an extensive amount of customer
participation in promotions, contests, and brand networks so they are able to get close to
their targets. In 1995, the company had decided that expanding the color choices of
M&M’s was a must in order to increase their desirability. They decided that the best way
to do this was to let customers choose the newest color to join the mix. Overwhelmingly,
10 million plus people made the decision that Blue would be the fresh new character in
the M&M’s brand, and he has remained since (M&M’s website).
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 15
Anyone who has visited the grocery store has seen at least one of the promotions
that M&M’s has run in the past. In the last year and a half alone, they have endorsed
several major motion pictures, with new products emerging from each (M&M’s website),
launched three new additions to their candy brand (Dandy
Candy), and have had several contests with payoffs in
the form of money, prizes, or candy. The bottom line
is that the company is always providing something to
catch the customers’ eye and a way for them to get
involved. Everyone should feel as though they are a part of the
company and their participation and opinions are valued by those who run the
Anyone who visits M&M’s U.S. website has the opportunity to become a “Brand
VIP”, essentially a member of the M&M and MasterFoods family. Every section of the
website that a patron visits, markets the chance to be the first to learn about upcoming
news and promotions. Upon signing up for this club, the members receive newsletters
via email and postage that offer news, promotions, and new product information that isn’t
available to the average consumer. In addition to learning about the company before
others, the newest members gain access to the official Collectors Club. It is here that
customers learn of the most recent merchandise to hit the shelves, as well as become
informed about local Collectors Events that they can attend.
The company provides this service to any M&M customers, but in exchange for
the services that it offers, the company is able to collect information on their customers.
When signing up to be a Brand VIP, the form asks not only demographic questions, but
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 16
also inquires about buying behavior and competitive patronage. Questions ask the
frequency of consumption, as well as for what purpose (i.e. snacking, entertaining, etc.),
and also how often competitors’ brands are consumed. This is an informal way of
targeting the individuals for their tastes and preferences, as well as looking into
Building relationships in this way informs customers that they are important to the
company as though they have a leg up on less loyal customers. At the same time, they
are able to collect information from the customers so they can determine the uses of the
product, and better serve unmet needs. MasterFoods and the M&M’s Brand is always
looking for ways to gain customer approval, and insure they are providing customers with
an experience that will be pleasurable and memorable for the whole family.
Another way that M&M’s is building customer relationships is by joining social
causes currently affecting certain demographics. Since 2003, MasterFoods has sold
specialty bags of M&M’s containing pink and white candies in support of breast cancer
awareness during the fall months (Who They Are). A
portion of each sale is donated directly to the Susan G.
Koman Breast Cancer Foundation in support of research
of this disease which will likely be diagnosed in over
200,000 women this year alone (Breast Cancer Statistics).
The donation made in each of the past two years has been
$250,000 and this is expected to be matched this year as well (Who They Are). This is
currently a hot topic, and especially sensitive with women. By lending their support to a
social cause, M&M’s has proven they are interested in their customer’s well being and
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 17
trying to make a difference. By showing they care, MasterFoods and M&M’s is seen as a
corporate company who cares about social issues and is doing their part to help. This has
been well received by many customers, but also met its fair share of critics. Cynics claim
it is an abomination to sell a milk chocolate candy in support of breast cancer when dairy
products in fact cause the cancer (Forum). This is not necessarily the opinion of the
general public, because all in all this has been seen as a positive step toward finding a
cure for this fatal disease.
For over sixty years, people everywhere have been enjoying the small chocolate
candies that “melt in your mouth, not in your hand.” Over the years, M&M’s candies of
many varieties have become a part of American culture, changing seasonally and when
promotions or new varieties are introduced. M&M’S candy has grown from plain and
peanut varieties, to almond, peanut butter, crispy tastes and also to mini and mega sizes.
One very common appearance of M&M’s has been as a finger food at parties,
events, or just on the coffee table at someone’s house. This has been facilitated by the
rapidly changing color schemes that appear whether it’s Christmas, Easter, Valentines
Day, Independence Day, or Halloween. There are individuals who consume M&M’s
almost as a decoration, having only the current colors to represent their favorite holiday
season. They are also used as gifts and in baking, which also tend to have holiday flair to
Customers often see the changing colors of M&M’s as a sign of the upcoming
seasons, and for those consumers who are highly loyal, it can evoke a feeling of
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 18
excitement because it is known that a season of entertaining friends or family is just
around the corner.
Until recently, customers had to wait for a certain time of year to see their favorite
colors, but this is not so today. M&M has followed in the footsteps of companies like
Nike and Lands End, and has added a customization option to their
candies. Now, customers are able to choose from 15 different
colors to add a message or from 21 custom colors, based on their
individual preference or their entertaining needs (Cashing in on the
new world of Me). Customizing colors and messages has broadened the possibilities for
M&M’s from the consumer standpoint, and now there are even more ways for them to
enjoy their favorite candy. From birthday parties to weddings, consumers are buying
customized candies to reflect their own personal identity with the candy and to enjoy
them to the fullest.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 19
There is no doubt that M&M’s has proved itself in the past 60 years as a popular
American brand. The future is unclear for M&M’s, but the information collected about
the current status of the brand and company can determine where they can potentially go
M&M’s relative advantage with their products is that they are continuously
creating new products. With their candy lines, they have evolved from plain and peanut
varieties to crispy, peanut butter and almond types. They have also created Mini M&MS
that are smaller than regular M&M’s and recently, M&M’s has introduced mega M&M’s
which are 55% larger than regular sized M&M’s (M&M’s website). By creating all of
these different products, M&M’s is attempting to cover every aspect of their candy
market. This is also to appeal to every kind of consumer, where they offer something for
every type of consumer and their personal preference with candy. Although it may seem
like a good idea to cover every facet of the candy arena, over time M&M’s faces such
issues such as saturation and cannibalism. Saturation will occur due to an over presence
in the market, consumers will become tired of new products being introduced and
previously when they purchased the product, they will be reluctant in the future.
Cannibalism may occur because there are so many varieties of M&M’s, consumers that
were loyal peanut fans, may become new peanut butter fans thus eating away at sales in
the peanut variety. Cannibalism will only occur when M&M’s offers too many choices
for consumers and they become confused with what product to buy and will lose loyalty
to their favorite variety.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 20
Another factor to consider is expanding into more international products. At this
point in time, they do have a considerable presence in international markets such as Hong
Kong and Japan, but are missing some key global players such as mainland China,
Taiwan and the Pacific Islands. Potential expansion to Eastern Europe and Middle East
should be considered by M&M’s and MasterFoods, but should not expand until further
market research is done. By increasing the Asian presence they will be able to reach a
large demographic given the region’s large population and interest in American products.
Another future prediction for M&M’s Brand is following the market need for
social needs and wants. The market is currently moving towards more gourmet and
specialty chocolates for both consumption and gift-giving. M&M’s is currently not
active in this market, therefore potential diversification to provide customers with
specialty products will keep them in line with market trends. Current diet trends such as
the South Beach Diet and Atkins is leading to a growth of consumer’s requests for sugar-
free and low carb candy options. This could prove to be a big market for M&M’s if they
decide to enter this growing market segment.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 21
“Breast Cancer Statistics.” Susan G. Komen Foundation Website. 2005. November
Brenner, Jol Glenn. The Emperors of Chocolate: inside the secret world of Hershey and
Mars. New York: Random House, 1999.
“Candies with Attitude”. Retail Merchandiser. 44.7 (2004). 3-6.
“United States candy industry by product type in dollar sales, unit sales, and percent
change for 2004.” Candy Industry. 170.42. March 2005.
“Dandy Candy.” Convenience Store News. 40.13. (2004). 28
Forum. “Susan Komen Foundation Supports Breast Cancer.” Global Healing Center.
2005. November 15th, 2005.
“Hershey's Kissables To Sponsor DIS Busch Series Opener.” Daytona International
Speedway. 2005. November 27th 2005.
“Introducing Incred-Able ... Munch-Able ... Hershey's Kissables.” The Hershey
Company. 2005. November 17th, 2005
“Inventor of the Week: Mars.” INVENTION dimension. Mar. 2005. Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. November 27th, 2005.
“JBz Chocolate Candies.” Jelly Belly Website. 2003. Jelly Belly. November 27th, 2005
M&M’s Website. 2005. Mars Incorporated. October 30th, 2005.
“More Holiday Gifts.” Hershey Gifts. 2005. The Hershey Company. November 27th,
“New Product Updates.” Candy USA. 2003. National Confectioners Association.
November 27th, 2005
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 22
“Product Timeline.” Hershey Museum. 2003. Hershey Museum. November 27th, 2005.
Schlosser, Julie. “Cashing in on the New World of Me.” Fortune. 150. 12 (2004).
Sutter, Stan. “Advertising week north.” Marketing Magazine. 109.32 (2004). 3.
“Tapping Into New Fans.” Retail Merchandiser. July 2004, 44.7, 10-12.
The M&M’s Collector’s Club. 2005. November 12th, 2005.
“Who They Are, M&M’s Chocolate Candies.” Susan G. Komen Foundation Website.
2005. November 15th, 2005.
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 23
DOLLAR SALES (in millions), 2004
150 Kisses, 123.9
100 Reese's, Nuggets, York
64.7 64.4 Private Peppermint
Label,Kit Kat, Cadbury, Patty,
50 Snickers, 34.2 32.6 31.6 29.9
M&M’s Competitor Brand Analysis 24