Smarties Candy ‘not for sale’ as business passed onto third generation

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Smarties' third generation of leadership takes the reins.  Pic: Smarties Candy Company
Smarties' third generation of leadership takes the reins. Pic: Smarties Candy Company

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The third generation of Smarties Candy, Jessica Dee Sawyer, Sarah Dee, and Liz Dee, have been passed the baton from their father and uncle to take over the business as co-presidents.

The company said the three women have led several initiatives at Smarties over the last decade, from infrastructure improvement and investments in solar energy to new product launches and an overhaul of the company’s digital presence.

“All of [those initiatives] have led to consistent increases in sales,”​ Smarties said.

Liz Dee told ConfectioneryNews the Smarties brand has been growing year-over-year, and the company reached record sales in 2016. “We are certainly hoping 2017 will be beating last year,”​ she said.

“I think that Smarties is an interesting juxtaposition of being a classic brand, and is really appealing to modern sensibilities because it ticks so many of those boxes – gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, and vegan,”​ Dee added. “Each Smarties candy roll is only 25 calories.”

Despite the company’s rapid growth, Dee said it is a challenge to compete as a small family-run business against major multinational conglomerates who take up much larger shelf space in retailers.

“We continue to hold onto our own moving forward,”​ she noted. “We have been approached to be purchased, and we firmly hold the position that Smarties is not for sale.”

Updating packaging and nutrition facts label

Smarties currently operates in two facilities: Union, New Jersey, where Dee is based out of; and outside of Toronto in Canada.

Dee said the company is currently focusing on updating machinery at its Canadian facility to give them more flexibility with packaging options, as well as streamlining the production process at its New Jersey plant.

“Any projects take years of planning and a large capital of expenses. We also listen to our customers to understand what their needs and wants are,”​ she said. “Obviously we’re seeing a trend of switching from laydown bags to standup bags… and we’re going to continue investing in our bagging technology.”

Additionally, Smarties will also follow the new compliance date the FDA recently extended for the nutrition facts label​.

“We’re absolutely going to comply with anything that happens at a federal level. That’s a priority for us,”​ Dee said.

“Our candies have a three-year shelf life, so we’re purchasing material, packaging, and ingredients with the next three years in mind,”​ she added. “We appreciate that having more time makes sure we’re able to comply without throwing away any packaging material or ingredients.”

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