FARGO — In a recent survey, M&M's were rated the most popular candy in the United States — and is that really a surprise?
According to YouGov, 85 percent of Americans have a positive view of the candy-coated chocolate treat, which now comes in nearly a dozen different varieties from plain and peanut to caramel and mint. But now, Mars Wrigley Confectionery is debuting three new internationally inspired flavors: English Toffee Peanut, Mexican Jalapeno Peanut and Thai Coconut Peanut. The company is asking candy lovers to try all three and vote on their favorite.
Each vote counts as one entry for a chance to win a trip to Mexico, Thailand and England — a prize package worth close to $50,000.
Being a lover of both chocolate and travel, this contest is right up my alley. So this week on "The Scoop with Tracy Briggs," I thought I'd ask some fellow candy lovers which flavor would receive their vote. We set up a tasting table at Beans Coffee Bar in Fargo where we talked some people into sampling the M&M's. (It wasn't that hard to convince most to have a little chocolate with their coffee.)
Watch our video to see what everyone thought of the international M&M's.
English Toffee Peanut
Maybe I'm weird (well, I know I'm weird), but the little yellow M&M on the package of the English Toffee Peanut M&M's reminded me of Mr. Carson from "Downton Abbey." And biting into any one of the three shades of brown M&M tasted a bit like one of my all-time favorite British desserts, sticky toffee pudding. Many of our taste-testers said they liked the smooth toffee flavor.
"I love English toffee, so there was nothing not to like," said Jenna Gergen.
However, others noted that the toffee flavor wasn't that strong and in fact tasted more like coffee or maple syrup. Others found it a little too sweet. Of all the flavors tested, participants said this seemed like the most traditional flavor.
Mexican Jalapeno Peanut
The taste-testers seemed a little leery about trying the new jalapeno flavor. However, most were pleasantly surprised that the spice was not overwhelming. In fact, participants pointed out that, at first, all you taste is the peanut, but after a few seconds the jalapeno taste came through.
"It had a good kick after the fact," said Kathryn Kingsley.
Lanelle Vasicheck called this version of the candy "unique and festive."
Others said it was too weird a combo and something that they could only have one or two of and not an entire package. That's probably a good thing.
I agreed with Kingsley — at first I thought, 'this is barely spicy at all.' Then the spice rolls in. I thought it was a fun combo despite not loving jalapenos.
Thai Coconut Peanut
Coconut is a polarizing flavor. It seems you either love it or hate it. Before tasting, some said they expected it to taste like a Mounds candy bar. But they were surprised that it tasted a little savory-sweet, like a dish you'd have at a Thai restaurant. I detected hints of curry and lime along with the coconut in the candy. Others enjoyed the tropical taste on this snowy March day.
"It's refreshing and reminds me of summer," says Rachel Blankenship.
Only one person surveyed said they would not buy any of these flavors. The majority of taste-testers said they'd definitely get at least one of these new flavors.
But which one was the favorite? It was extremely close. In fact, English Toffee Peanut and Thai Coconut Peanut were tied for first, with Mexican Jalapeno not far behind. If you counted my vote, Thai Coconut Peanut edged ahead of English Toffee Peanut. Seriously, I don't think you could go wrong with any of the flavors.
But you can decide for yourself. Just head to the M&M's Flavor Vote website, or text "Vote" to 84444. You'll have until May 17 to pick your favorite.
In May, the company will also pick the winner of the trip. (Crossing my fingers. If I don't win and one of you do, would you consider taking me with you?)
And once all of the votes are in, the winning flavor will be announced in August, and that bag will score a spot on shelves nationwide.