Most of us know (and love) M&M's — those tiny, colorful chocolates that "melt in your mouth, not in your hand."
But very few of us are familiar with the process of how they're made.
Lucky for you, Business Insider visited the Mars Chocolate North America campus in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where 50% of all M&M's sold in the US are made.
Mars Chocolate — a segment of the $33 billion Mars candy, pet care, and beverage company — is the producer of M&M's, along with 10 other billion-dollar brands including Snickers, Dove, Milky Way, and Twix.
The Mars Chocolate North America campus, which opened in 1958 and employs 1,200 people, is home to a corporate office as well as the M&M's factory.
While touring the campus, we learned that the M&M's brand was founded by Forrest E. Mars, Sr. in 1941, and that it was the first candy in space in 1982.
Leighanne Eide, the Mars Chocolate North America site director, walked us through the factory and explained each step of the process. We were restricted from taking photos of certain top-secret areas — but below you'll get a better idea of how the M&M's-making process works:
The smell of sweet chocolate hit us as we approached the factory, which is a few hundred yards from the Mars Chocolate office in Hackettstown, New Jersey.
Upon entering the factory, we were asked to remove all jewelry. Next, Eide examined our fingernails to see if we were wearing nail polish. (They don't want chipped nail polish getting mixed in with the product.) Mine were polished, so I was asked to wear gloves. We were also required to wear a Mars-branded lab coat, like all factory associates.
Next we were given hard hats, safety glasses, ear plugs, and hair nets.
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