What’s That Coconut Doing in My M&M’s?

Coconut M&M’s

By: Mars Snackfood US

I Paid: 79 cents for a 1.5-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4stars


Marketing: 4stars

Most mass-market candies speak a language devoid of nuance, one composed of overwhelmingly powerful artificial flavors and syrupy sweetness. They don’t talk; they yell. Of course, it’s candy—kids aren’t known for having subtle palates. What’s on the bag or box in terms of marketing is often more important than the taste.

Taking all that into consideration, it’s hard not to be impressed with the new, limited-edition Coconut M&M’s. The flavor of coconut (rather than coconut flakes or any other physical presence of the stuff) permeates each classic M&M without overwhelming the candy-coating-plus-chocolate duet that defines the brand; the “volume” level is adjusted just right, such that the coconut is a distinct flavor without running wild. A restricted color palette—green, white, and dark brown—adds visual appeal, and it’s hard to argue with the logic of the flavor combination, as coconut and chocolate have been successfully paired in other candies for years.

All in all, a classy package. Now, if only Mars would bring back Royals, the classic mint-M&M combo from the early 1980s that shone briefly but brightly on the shelves of candy stores from coast to coast …

Skittles Crazy Cores

By: Mars Snackfood US

I Paid: $1.29 for a 3.6-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2stars


Marketing: 3stars

You pick up a bag of Skittles Crazy Cores expecting—or at least hoping—that the candy will live up to its promise and be truly crazy. Who wouldn’t be excited to try an avocado-lobster Skittle? Or plantain-coffee Skittle? No such luck, unfortunately: Skittles Crazy Cores are two-tone mash-ups of stock candy flavors such as mango-peach, cherry-lemonade, and strawberry-watermelon.

A strictly enforced “truth in marketing” act would have compelled Mars to call them Skittles Conservative Cores or Skittles Conventional Cores.

The premise is simple: The coating of each Skittle differs in flavor and color from the middle of the candy. The problem is, it’s difficult to tell the two flavors apart, let alone distinguish the different combos from one another. It all tastes like generic fruit punch. You can eat the Skittles one by one, checking them against the key on the back of the bag to figure out what you’re tasting. But that’s tedious, and except for the cherry-lemonade, you still won’t be able to distinguish between the flavor of the shell and the core.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.