(Sorry folks, I promise I am still alive. Things just got a little hectic there for a while. And while I was gone, we managed to hit 50k hits. Wow! Thank you all so much! :D)
Mars' latest seasonal M&M's offering is Orange flavour. Although the package doesn't actually say it on the front (or anywhere but in the ingredients), these are milk chocolate M&Ms. The orange flavour isn't new to the range; a few years ago we saw it in dark chocolate M&Ms.
These M&M's are the first packet I've picked up in Mars' new gusseted bags. These bags have been introduced over the past few months, and will also be used with the Maltesers and Pods ranges. Despite what some customers seem to think, there has been no sizing change. Because the bag is shaped differently (wider, rather than narrow and tall), it feels like there is less product, but the product weight is the same.
The new bags also come with the ability to be 're-sealed' - although in this case it is with the roll-over-and-use-provided-sticker rather than with an included ziplock closure. The sticker may annoy some people as it's not very sticky, and I found that it would pop off the sealed bag at times if closed too tightly.
On the front we have Orange, the orange-coloured M&M, shown getting into (or coming out of) an orange fruit costume. At the bottom near his feet, there is a cute message indicating that 'no oranges were harmed in the making of this product'.
Inside we have orange and white-coloured M&M's. They look no different in size to regular milk M&Ms, and bear the classic m logo in some icky colour (mottled blue on orange, and green-brown on the white). The vast majority of mine were undamaged and rounded in shape, but I did have a couple of deformed ones, as you do.
They are very strongly scented. The scent is a lot like that of the Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange, but more fruity and essence-like (whereas the Terry's can be overwhelmingly strong and sweet). It's quite a nice scent, and the chocolate scent is discernable as well. They complement each other nicely.
On taste, these M&M's are quite mild compared to a Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange. Whereas the first bite of a Terry's can make your teeth hurt, these are nicely flavoured, not too strong or overpowering. That may be because of the candy shell, as it doesn't seem to be flavoured. The orange and chocolate tastes go together well, neither dominating the other. There is no citrus tang or sharpness; the orange flavour is a well-crafted fake but mild. There's no mention of zest, juice, essence or other genuine orange flavour in the ingredients list.
It's easy to take a handful and munch away, but I do find that these are not as encouraging of mindless eating as many other M&M types. Maybe it's because the orange taste lingers for a little while afterwards, delicately reminding me of what I just ate like a mild mint. It's not an unpleasant situation (and perhaps may complement a sip of hot chocolate), but it may not go so well with something else eaten immediately afterwards.
Mars M&M's Orange includes milk and wheat products, and traces of peanuts, treenuts and barley may be present.