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    Colorful Venture

    M&M's seeks input on new color from retailers, convenience store customers.


    NEWARK, N.J. -- Seven years after blue became part of its chocolate rainbow, the maker of M&M's wants the world to decide on a new color.

    Masterfoods USA, which manufactures the multicolored chocolate candies, will add purple, pink or aqua M&M's to the mix by August, said Bob Gamgort, vice president and general manager of chocolate for the Hackettstown-based candy company.

    The company's market research shows that these three colors are consumers' top choices to add to the red, green, blue, yellow, brown and orange candies already in the bags, Gamgort said. Purple was the second choice of 10 million Americans who voted to have blue replace tan in the candy box in 1995, he said.

    Masterfoods said it was advertising in 78 countries and taking votes on its Web site to decide what the new color will be. The company is seeking input from retail chains, customers and candy lovers alike, Gamgort said.

    The site and a toll-free telephone number will take votes from March 6 to May 31, and the company will announce the winning color on June 19. The site will let consumers vote in 15 languages, the Associated Press reported.

    Gamgort said the new color would be available in all flavors of M&M's in August through the end of the year, when the company will decide whether to include it permanently. The company introduced the color blue in the same way in 1995.

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