Excellent news for anyone who’s into hazelnut, chocolate, and — most importantly — both: Hazelnut Spread M&Ms are on the way soon, bringing everything you love about treats like Nutella to the portable, bite-sized format for which M&Ms are beloved. They won’t be arriving for a while yet — not until April of 2019, according to a press release — but, y’know, that’s OK. It gives us something to look forward to, right?
Per the press release, Hazelnut Spread M&Ms (which are officially called M&M’s Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies) “feature a hazelnut spread center, covered in delicious milk chocolate, offering a delectable and trend-forward combination of chocolate and hazelnut flavor in every bite-sized piece.” Said Allison Miazga-Bedrick, senior brand director of M&M’s Brand, “The industry I changing and consumer tastes are evolving. We’re continuing to recognize and anticipate demand.” About the launch of the Hazelnut Spread M&Ms, she added, “We’re thrilled to deliver this new flavor with color and fun, in a way that only M&M’s can.”
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to describe the combination of chocolate and hazelnut as “trend-forward”; pastry maker Pietro Ferrero first came up with the idea of blending a hazelnut paste with a tiny bit of cocoa in 1942 as a means of making the limited supply of cocoa available during and following World War II go further, eventually leading to the creations of Supercrema in 1951, Nutella in 1964, and Ferrero Rocher chocolates in 1982 — which, I would argue, makes the flavor profile more of a classic than “trend-forward” at this point. Either way, though, given Nutella’s widespread popularity, it’s likely that Hazelnut Spread M&Ms will fly off shelves, snatched up as quickly as possible by the chocolate-hazelnut loves of the world.
According to The Daily Meal, the “spread” at the centers of these little treats “is not actually capable of being spread on toast” — a statement which I have interpreted as meaning that the hazelnut filling isn’t soft and gooey the way Nutella or Lindt’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is. In fact, it seems more like biting into a Hazelnut Spread M&M might be like biting into a truffle: The filling looks firm, but also still creamy, particularly once it comes in contact with your mouth.
Curiously, though, the candies weren’t a hit with The Daily Meal’s team. Many described the flavor as tasting kind of like popcorn, which is… um… interesting. Very few other taste tests are currently floating around the internet, though, so bear in mind that this sample size is tiny; others may feel differently once the treats are actually available.
Hazelnut Spread M&Ms are just one of a whole variety of new M&M flavors that have graced us with their presence lately. Just a few weeks ago, in fact, we learned that a number of global flavors, including English Toffee Peanut, Mexican Jalapeño Peanut, and Thai Coconut Peanut, will be launching in 2019. But how does parent company Mars Wrigley and the M&Ms team come up with all these new flavors in the first place? TJ Kanaris, Mars Wrigley’s seasonal marketing director, spoke to Food and Wine about the development process in 2017 — and it actually sounds pretty logical. First, the flavor development team brainstorms ideas based on “what people are looking forward to during the holiday season.” Then, Kanaris, several “flavor houses” and a “sensory team” — basically expert taste testers — work together to develop each treat through a bunch of trial and era. It can take up to nine months to come up with a new flavor, reported Food and Wine.
Now, it’s true that the hazelnut spread flavor isn’t specifically a holiday release; as such, it’s possible that the development of this flavor wasn’t exactly the same as the system Kanaris uses for seasonal specialties. However, I imagine the process isn’t too dissimilar; just substitute “brainstorming what people are into right now” for “brainstorming what people are looking forward to during the holiday season” and you’re probably good to go.
Alas, we’ve still got many months to go before Hazelnut Spread M&Ms’ April 2019 release date; once they arrive, though, they’ll be available in in Singles (1.35 oz. each), Share Sizes (2.53 oz.) and Sharing Size Stand Up Pouches (8.3 oz.), according to the press release. In the meantime, there’s another new release coming much sooner that might help tide us over: M&M’s Chocolate Bars studded with whole M&M Minis will be arriving in five flavors — Peanut, Milk Chocolate, Crispy, Almond, and Crispy Mint — in December 2018. Mark your calendars!