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An Inside Look at Smarties, One of NJ’s Sweetest Companies

For a toy company, the busiest time of year is the holiday shopping season leading up to Christmas. But for a candy company, it’s Halloween. This especially holds true for Smarties Candy Company, manufacturer of the iconic candy, Smarties. As it turns out, half of all of Smarties Candy Co.’s production takes place at its factory headquarters in New Jersey.

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A Sweet Story

Edward Dee
Ce De Inc. (now Smarties Candy Co.) Founder, Edward “Eddie” Dee.

Founded by Edward “Eddie” Dee, Smarties Candy Company (then known as Ce De Inc.) put its roots down in Bloomfield, New Jersey in 1949. Ten years later, the company moved to Elizabeth before finally settling in Union in 1967, where it remains today. In addition to its primary NJ location, Smarties has a second facility in Newmarket, Ontario. (Fun fact: They call Smarties “Rockets” in Canada!)

At the beginning of October, the family brand announced the appointment of three co-presidents; Sarah Dee, Jessica Dee Sawyer and Elizabeth Dee. All of them are granddaughters of Eddie, keeping the “family” in family business. The trio took over the title from Sarah’s father — Jessica and Elizabeth’s uncle — Jonathan Dee.

Jessica Dee Sawyer, Sarah Dee & Elizabeth Dee
(from left to right) Jessica Dee Sawyer, Sarah Dee & Elizabeth Dee, the new co-presidents of Smarties Candy Co.

“We are delighted to be serving Smarties as co-presidents,” says Jessica Sawyer Dee. She goes on to say “We love working together and have a fantastic team. We are a small, tightknit group and think of all of our employees as family.”

Yet in a society obsessed with trends and things going viral only to be forgotten a week later, how is it they’ve remained a constant on the candy scene for almost seventy years?

“For starters, people really love eating Smarties. We have incredible fans of our candy who are the reason we’re able to do what we do today,” says Elizabeth. “We know what works and stick to our classic Smarties recipe, creating delicious, high-quality candy since 1949.”

Jessica Dee Sawyer, Sarah Dee & Elizabeth Dee

The Perfect Treat?

In addition, Elizabeth points to the fact that Smarties tick off a host of boxes that are important to the modern consumer. The candy is tasty, yet low in calories (25 calories per one Smarties roll) and free of all top allergens.

That’s right– Smarties are peanut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, making them a perfect candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters.

“Smarties are popular all year round, but especially around major holidays like Halloween,” says company co-president Sarah Dee. “We are very busy making Smarties in the summer in order to keep up with the Halloween demand.”

In fact, they produce candy at the factory 24 hours a day, five-and-a-half days a week. That amounts to 70,000 pounds of candy in one day, and over one billion Smarties rolls per year!


According to Elizabeth Dee, her grandfather named the candy “Smarties” in order to encourage people to pursue an education. This fact prompted the company to start the “Smarties Think” initiative in 2013, a campaign that has provided $125,000 to date for classrooms in need.

Other Community Projects

Also tying into the company’s focus on the importance of education is the launch of its #LittleSmarties project.

“The new #LittleSmarties campaign champions ‘smarties’ throughout history by providing DIY Halloween costume instruction for families,” says Elizabeth. Examples include Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and other famous pioneers.

Besides the community work and creating a safe treat for almost everyone to consume, who wouldn’t want to support a local family company that is now one of New Jersey’s sweetest success stories?

“We love being a New Jersey-based company,” says Jessica. “It’s where Smarties was founded and is part of the heart and soul of our family business.”

“Our families are all here, and we have a close network of New Jersey-based friends and team.” she continued. “The people in New Jersey are wonderful to work with and we are very happy to be doing business in the beautiful Garden State.”