Nestlé Smarties are a colour-varied sugar-coated chocolate confectionery popular primarily in the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Germany and Greece. They have been manufactured since 1937,[1] originally by H.I. Rowntree & Co..

Smarties are oblate spheroids with a minor axis of about 5 mm (0.2 in) and a major axis of about 15 mm (0.6 in). They come in eight colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, pink and brown, although the blue variety was temporarily replaced by a white variety in some countries, while an alternative natural colouring dye of the blue colour was being researched.



Rowntrees of York, England, have been making "Chocolate Beans" since at least 1882. The product was renamed "Smarties Chocolate Beans" in 1937.[2] Rowntrees was forced to drop the words "chocolate beans" in 1977 due to trading standards requirements (the use of the word "beans" was felt to be misleading) so adopted the "Milk Chocolate in a Crisp Sugar Shell". Later, the sweet was rebranded as "Smarties".

Smarties are no longer manufactured in York; production has now moved to Germany, where a third of them were already made. Outside Europe, Nestlé's largest production facility for Smarties is in Canada, where Nestlé has been manufacturing products since 1918.

Manufacturing process

  1. The Smartie making process starts with the melted chocolate.
  2. The melted chocolate is poured between a pair of very cold metal roller moulds. As the two rollers come together, they form a sheet of chocolate beans joined together with a thin chocolate web.
  3. This chocolate bean sheet is moved along a conveyor belt to cool and harden.
  4. Once cooled the unwanted chocolate around the edge of the bean is removed, in a de-webbing drum. The excess chocolate that is taken off is melted down and used again.
  5. The resulting beans are then passed through another rotating drum. This is a smoothing drum, and removes the rough edges from the beans.
  6. The beans are then placed in large rotating drums and their coating is sprayed on. The first coat is the soft coat, (a mixture of flour, starch and syrup) and is built up gradually. The second hard coat of syrup is then built up in the same way. Finally the colour and wax are added. [3]


UK Smarties, before and immediately after transition to natural colours. Current UK Smarties include a natural blue in place of white.

In one of the earlier ranges of colours, there was a light-brown Smartie. This was replaced in 1988 by the blue Smartie. Before 1958, the dark-brown Smarties had a plain-chocolate centre, while the light-brown one tasted of coffee. The orange Smarties contained, and still contain in the UK, orange-flavoured chocolate.[4] This fact was not widely publicized, and was passed on as a 'secret' between schoolchildren, many of whom had not noticed the flavour difference.

In 2006 it was announced that Nestlé were removing all artificial colourings from Smarties in the UK, owing to consumer concerns over the effect of chemical dyes on children's health.[5] Nestlé decided to replace all synthetic dyes with natural ones, but as they were unable to source a natural blue dye, the blue Smarties were removed from circulation (which led to the common misbelief that only the blue Smarties would trigger hyperactivity in some children), and white Smarties were introduced in their place (despite originally not being allowed to make white ones due to their resemblance to tablets).[6] White Smarties were later removed from the range, and blue Smarties were re-introduced in the UK in February 2008, using a natural blue dye derived from the cyanobacterium spirulina.[7]

Artificial colouring was removed from Smarties in the Canadian market in March 2009. The new range includes yellow, brown, orange, red, green, pink and purple; the blue smarties were readded in May 2010.[8]

Violet Smarties were previously dyed with cochineal, a derivative of the Cochineal insect which is made by crushing female Cochineal insects. In the UK, they are now dyed using red cabbage.[9][10]


UK blue Smarties, old (above) and new (below).

Smarties are not distributed in the United States, except by specialist importers. The Ce De Candy company manufactures a hard, tablet sweet under the name Smarties (known as Rockets in Canada), which is unrelated to the Nestlé product. M&M's are also similar to Smarties.

Smarties are also sold in the form of chocolate bars and eggs with fragments of Smarties in them, and chocolate-and-vanilla ice cream with Smarties pieces in it known as Smarties Fusion. A variant on Smarties ice cream is the Smarties McFlurry, sold by McDonald's. A Smarties Blizzard is available at Dairy Queen in Canada.

In 1997, larger-sized Giant Smarties were introduced, and, in 2004, Fruity Smarties. Another variation of Smarties, which contained white chocolate rather than milk chocolate, was also introduced. These were trialled as Smartics, however upon their proper release a year or so later, they were simply called White Chocolate Smarties.

In 1998, a product known as 'Smarties Secrets' was introduced which contained sweets of varying designs, colours and flavours. The packaging also contained a small comic book. This product is no longer available.

In Canada, there was a limited line of red and white smarties where the white smarties sport a red maple leaf, reminiscent of the Canadian flag. Holiday packaging for Christmas and Valentine's Day (containing only pink and red Smarties) is common. Also in Canada, Nestlé has introduced Peanut and Peanut Butter Smarties.

Around Christmas, Nestlé Australia and Canada often releases Smarties in the Christmas colours of red, green and white.

Smarties in the UK were traditionally sold in cylindrical cardboard tubes, capped with a colourful plastic lid usually having a letter of the alphabet on it. The purpose of this, according to a Rowntrees' spokesperson in the 1980s, was for them to be useful as a teaching aid to encourage young children to recognise the letters. Over the last 25 years, Nestlé has manufactured five billion Smarties lids. Some lids are very rare and are now regarded as collectors' items.

In February 2005, the Smarties tube was replaced with a hexagonal design. The rationale behind changing the design was, according to Nestlé, to make the brand "fresh and appealing" to youngsters; the new packaging is also lighter and more compact, and the lid (which is now a hinged piece of cardboard) has a card clip which holds the lid shut when it is folded over, however the tab which clips it can become wet and flimsy when the tube is emptied into the mouth, making the mechanism less effective, and also giving the user the feeling of wet card on their lips. This new design has received lots of criticism from the public, and there have been many petitions to bring back the old tube. The new lid still features a letter like the old plastic lids, but it is in the form of a "what [letter] is a [thing]?" question, the answer for which can be read when the lid is open, next to the hole giving access to the rest of the tube. The hexagonal box is made of one piece of card which is diecut then folded and glued. The hexagon can also be stacked in many layers without the pile collapsing, which is an advantage at the point of sale. The last 100 tubes to leave the factory in York had a certificate inside them.

In other countries, like Canada, there is more variety in packaging. Smarties can be purchased in rectangular boxes, a giant tube, or in a stand-up plastic bag, and in 410 g bags in Australia and New Zealand.

In the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, Smarties are called Lentilky and manufactured by Nestlé.

Advertising slogans

UK & Ireland

The current Smarties slogan is "Only Smarties have the answer", which has been used since the late 1970s; however, the previous slogan, "Do you eat the red ones last?", is still occasionally used.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the phrase "Buy some for Lulu" was sung school-yard style (in the fashion of nyah-nah-nah nah-nah) as a tagline in commercials. This was before the rise of the singer Lulu.

Mid-1980s television commercials were notable for their advanced use of computer-generated imagery, produced by Martin Lambie-Nairn.


The words for the Canadian advertising jingle from the 1970s until the mid-1990s was "When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last? Do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast? Eat those candy-coated chocolates, but tell me when I ask, when you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?". This jingle was set to the tune of Lonnie Donegan And His Skiffle Group's "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Over Night)". Another version of the lyrics is, "When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last? Do you dive right in the middle, do you catch them on a pass. Do you eat them on your ice cream, Smarties are a blast! When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?". Today "Show YOUR colours!" is splashed across the packaging. The original idea for the campaign was from the daughter of a couple that worked at the Rowntree's facility, who always ate the red smarties last. The father suggested it as an idea and the campaign took off, it's now known as one of the best marketing campaigns for any candy.

The 2008 advertising campaign shows various people who sang to the song "Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone.[11]


The German Smarties Slogan is "Viele, viele bunte Smarties" (which translates as "lots and lots of colourful Smarties").

South Africa

In South Africa the slogan is "Wot a lot I got" ("What a lot I've got"). This is often printed on one of the sides of the smarties box in brown lettering simply as a single word, "Wotalotigot".

See also


  1. ^ "Smarties". Nestlé. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Bradley, John (2011). Cadbury's Purple Reign: The Story Behind Chocolate's Best-Loved Brand. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 9781119995050. 
  3. ^ BBC Gallery: Making Smaties [1]
  4. ^ Ben Schott, Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany
  5. ^ "Why blue smarties are turning white". The Daily Mail. 2006-05-08. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  6. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (2008-02-11). "Smarties manufacturer brings back the blues | UK news |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  7. ^ "UK | Seaweed allows Smarties comeback". BBC News. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  8. ^ "Nestlé : SMARTIES No Artificial Colours". 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  9. ^ Barton, Laura (2007-05-15). "Veggies beware! | Food and drink | Life and Health". London:,,2079769,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  10. ^ "Vegetarians see red over smarties dye - News". Manchester Evening News. 2004-10-28. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  11. ^ Everyday People on YouTube

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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