M&M's is debuting a new kind of candy in the US that took years to perfect

For the first time, M&M’s is launching a version of the candy with a caramel center.

M&M’s Caramel Chocolate Candies will hit shelves in May 2017, parent company Mars Chocolate announced on Tuesday. According to the company, caramel M&M’s will be a permanent item, intended to tap into the US$2.2 billion caramel business.

A Mars spokesperson told Business Insider that the company spent a little over two years developing the caramel M&M.

The company also made some significant financial investments to make the candy a reality, including opening a new $270 million plant in Topeka, Kansas in 2014. All caramel M&M’s will be produced at the plant, which is dedicated primarily to product innovation.

Earlier this year — M&M’s 75th anniversary — Mars announced plans to double down on innovation. The company has prioritised transitioning to all natural colours over the next five years and developing new flavours, like caramel M&M’s.

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