Mars apparently has a thing for hooking itself to summer blockbusters these days. Last year there were Mint Crisp M&Ms and the Snickers Adventure Bar, both discussed in the June 16, 2008 podcast, which tied into Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Not content with one questionable summer sequel, Mars has joined up with the second Michael Bay Transformers movie. They've also continued their trend of adding berry flavors to M&Ms (which have gone one good, one bad for me so far). This time, though, it's strawberries, and the M&Ms in question are actually peanut butter. Presumably the idea is that these two flavors go together in a PB&J (unless you're a grape jelly person), so surely they'll go together in an M&M.
It's an intriguing thought, but things never quite work that way. When you're making a candy product and trying to impersonate something that isn't candy, you usually end up with a curiously ersatz version, and it's really no different here. In isolation, the peanut butter tastes like peanut butter, and I guess the strawberry flavor tastes enough like a real strawberry - but neither tastes quite enough like the real thing for anyone to be fooled by the combination. Not that M&Ms is trying to fool anyone into thinking they're eating a sandwich, of course, but the way peanut butter and strawberry jam might mesh between two slices of bread is not sufficiently aped by the way peanut butter and strawberry flavor mesh here. I had a similar problem with the raspberry M&Ms - I might like eating raspberries covered in chocolate, but taking raspberry flavoring and grafting it onto an M&M just isn't the same experience, and it's never going to be.
And so it is here. I can taste the peanut butter, and I can taste the strawberry, but I never found that the two of them mixed all that well. It probably doesn't help that M&Ms peanut butter is so sweet - not only does the inherent sweetness overwhelm some of the strawberry taste, but without a richer peanut taste, there simply isn't the mix of flavors that might result from a well-made PB&J.
Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms are far from the worst things in the world, but their reason to exist is pretty small. Peanut Butter M&Ms don't really need modification, but if they're going to have one, it really needs to be more impactful.