Monday, April 18, 2016

O is for Only the Red


O is for Only the Red M&M's Taste Different


One day at work, a friend commented that she didn't like the red M&M's as well as the other colors. I said they all tasted the same and she insisted that the red ones were different. Well, I thought this comment definitely needed further investigation.
Do the different colors taste different?

Off I went to get a bag of M&M's. I carefully tasted each color and indeed, the red did taste different. Must be something with the dye, I thought. But did the red just taste different because I expected it to? Next I tried a blind taste test and the results were not as conclusive, but still there could be something there about the red ones tasting different.

After that, I enlisted the help of my husband and son. I had no problem getting their help when I told them all they had to do was eat M&M's. Again, the results were inconclusive, but there still was enough of a trend to warrant more examination.

Then I sat down to design an experiment to test the theory that red M&M's taste different than the other colors and to get more data points. As it turns out with so many different colors to work with, the design got quite complicated. In fact too complicated to carry out the experiment in the casual way I wanted. That meant I simplified things, so that I was no longer using journal-worthy test methods, but I proceeded anyway.

I went to Aldi's to get a couple of large bags of M&M's to start setting up the experiment. Well, one thing led to another, and it took me several days before I got a chance to get much done. And I think you can guess what happened next? I ate all of the variables (M&M's). A couple of weeks later, I got more M&M's to try again. And guess what? I ate them before I got the experiment set up.

So what were my conclusions? Maybe the red ones do taste different, but more work needs to be done to know for sure. However, more conclusively I proved that I like M&M's and have little self control when they are around.

Have you ever noticed that one color of an M&M tasted different than another?


24 comments:

  1. Oh my lord...now I want M&Ms for dinner ;)

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    1. I'm trying hard not to finish what I have before dinner--meaning have them for lunch. Thanks for visiting fellow left-hander.

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  2. I'm afraid I couldn't keep big bags of M & Ms in the house. I would eat the whole thing all by myself, before I could get some participants in my research.

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    1. We have been buying more M&M's recently since my husband discovered that they sell them at Aldi's. Every time he goes, he puts them in the basket. I should try to snag some of them, and investigate this important question again.

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  3. What if it's just the red M&M's from Aldi's that taste different? ;) How will you test that? I think more testing needs to be done! A lot more, in fact! ;) And then you can move on to skittles and sprees … and all of the candy. Just to make sure, of course. :)

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    1. You have raised some very important questions. If I'm going to do this right, I will need to consider them all. Oh, what a hardship.

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  4. I like your research project into the red M and M's! I think personally they all taste the same and now I want some :)

    betty
    http://viewsfrombenches.blogspot.com/

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    1. I think you should do some of your own research. :)

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  5. This is just my perception or the way my taste buds work, but I can tell a difference in the way different colors taste. To me both blue and black food colorings leave a sharp slightly bitter after taste. We have done blind taste tests with this and it doesn't matter if it is from a bakery or something like m&m's. I can taste the difference and the difference is a little unpleasant to me. It's funny because the only other color that was ever able to "taste" was deep red on a bakery cake, but I taste blue and black dye in a second. Consequently I never buy Halloween m&m's.

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    1. That is very interesting and adds credence to what my friend said. I'm not sure I've ever had black M&M's, but that needs investigation. For me the flavor of the chocolate overrides any taste of the dyes.

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  6. In my informal survey this past Saturday, the regular and the pretzel M&Ms served at a family party were consumed with equal gusto. My husband did complain that pretzel M&Ms are shaped deceptively like peanut M&Ms and that was a disappointment to him. I will be publishing my results in the Journal of Candyology.

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    1. I've been fooled by those pretzel M&M's also and they're a disappointment if you think you're getting peanut ones. They have so many kinds of M&M's today, but my favorites are the original. I'm looking forward to your article in Journal of Candyology. I'll have to make sure my subscription is up to date.

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  7. I think that whatever variance there is in the taste, I have never found one to be offensive. I shall keep eating them regardless of their subtle taste differences.
    Seriously, though, you should try it really with someone who is truly blind. I'll bet that they have heightened taste awareness.

    Donna Smith
    A to Z Challenge and NaPoWriMo
    http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/
    Mainely Write

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    1. That would be an interesting twist to try this with someone who is blind or has another sensory deficiency. What about someone who can't smell since some of our taste perception comes from smelling? So many possibilities and so many M&M's needed. And so much self control to exercise. :)

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  8. I think this warrants more experimentation. You better get several more bags of M$M's immediately. On my end, I'll get some M$M's also. You're cracking me up, eating the investigative subjects before the experiment begins. I hope I fare better. Will report back.

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    1. You report back and we'll see if there's a difference between the East Coast and the West Coast.

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  9. I love the line "I ate all the variables." It's a new excuse: The dog ate my data! Glenda from
    Evolving English Teacher

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    1. I had some more "variables" last night and I think the reds did taste different. But still not conclusive, so I need more testing. Darn. :)

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  10. Ha! Now that's the kind of study I could get behind! Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that's the kind of study that would stick to my behind! For some reason I think the red ones do taste different, but honestly I haven't had M&M's in years, and since I'm on a diet, I don't think I'll be trying this out any time soon. I did enjoy vicariously tasting them though!

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    1. I would guess that there would some kind of allergy problem with them for you besides the point that they are not exactly a health food. But, boy, do they taste good. When I pay attention, I think the red ones taste a little different. Almost like a very faint cinnamon flavor.

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    2. Maybe you should try the test again, but instead of just eating them, suck on them so you can get the full effect of the coating.

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    3. That certainly needs testing. However, presently we are out of M&M's and I'd like to wait a few days before we get any more. You know, that self control problem.

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  11. It's been a while since I had M&Ms but I do remember there being colors I didn't like, but can't recall which colors tasted off to me. Now the Easter and Christmas M&Ms are horrible. They definitely taste so different from the regular ones that I still remember those. :-)

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    1. The Christmas ones are full of red ones, so maybe there's something there. I'm pretty sure that M&M's aren't what you would chose to eat these days, so I will report to you any further findings so you don't have to do the testing yourself. :)

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What do you think?