The Secrets to Smarties’ 70 Years of Success

The sweet history of the company that makes Smarties.


October 3, 2019

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Image

I’m sure you remember the feeling of devouring a roll of Smarties — the crinkle of the packaging… the sugar high you get from those sweet tabs that dissolve on your tongue… and the stomachache that comes from scarfing down too many. 

Smarties Candy Co. celebrates its 70th birthday this week, and the family-run biz is still on a sugar high, despite family-owned mass-production candy companies not really being a thing in the US.

How has Smarties stayed so sweet?

The company markets its product as an American classic that’s “gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, and worry-free,” making them safe from just about anything but parents who forget to make their kids brush their teeth.

The founder’s three granddaughters now run the company and, while giant candy companies come knocking at their door almost every day, they’re choosing to keep Smarties in the family.

They’re also good at marketing their story…

Founder Edward Dee handmade the first batch of Smarties in a NJ garage in 1949 using a repurposed pellet-making machine from WWII.

Now they use robotic arms, conveyors, and forklifts to produce over 2B rolls each year. Their two factories — in NJ and Canada — run 24/7 and are currently hard at work, churning out happiness for Halloween.

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