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Smarties: The History and the Facts
Over the next few pages I want to address some of the issues that have made the news over the years. I still don't know how these pages will develop, but there are a couple of topics I want to cover immediately, so please bear with me as the pages are not finished yet.
LIDS - The Rise and Fall
Everyone you speak to about Smarties will talk about the round tubes with the plastic lid / cap. Depending on the generation a person is from, they may still think that the tubes are still round in shape, brown in colour and sealed with a lid bearing a lower case letter, upper case (capital) letter, or even a number!

However, there are very few of these people left due to the recent uproar about the switch from our beloved cylindrical tubes to HEXATUBES. But what was going on at Nestle? What were they thinking about changing the tubes and scrapping the lids that had been around since the beginning! Did they not know public opinion. Had they lost touch? There were dozens of petitions, which I didn't sign, but here are a couple of links to give you a flavour:
I hope you enjoyed reading those! There were other sites like them and the press had a bit of a field day aswell. So if public opinion was so strong, why the change...
from this...
to this...
There were theories and just plain old outrage fuelled by nostalgia. The loss of the lids was a massive blow though for collectors. After all, the lids had been round from the beginning...
...or maybe not, as this 1940's tube demonstrates with it's tear off paper lid. The 1930's tubes also had the same feature.
OK. They may not have been around since the beginning, but the lids had become a national institution (quoted from several of those websites I covered earlier), and so had the tubes. They were "an icon". So what were Nestle doing messing about with it?
1. It was widely reported at the time of the change that "mothers" wanted to see the packaging changing as it was impractical and possibly even dangerous as the lid was a potential choking hazard. I have now found a quote from Neil Ducray (head of marketing for Nestle Rowntree) in this BBC article created Friday 18th February 2005:
"We don't change something this famous just because we feel like it...We have done research that shows kids today have so many different influences that we need to keep the brand and the packaging fresh and interesting for them. We decided on the Hexatube shape because it has a tactile feel with lots of edges... Mothers also like the new end because it doesn't come off easily and spill the Smarties on the floor."
2. Nestle just wanted to cut their production costs and were concerned more about profit than anything else. You could argue about this one until the cows come home, but I have found an article on Nestle's website that seems to explain things, though I cannot remember Nestle ever using this as a reason...
Manufacture of Packaging:
A carton manufacturer will produce the packaging, which should be:
·    Made from minimal amounts of material
·    Capable of mass production
·    Easy to assemble and handle
·    Economical of space, for storage
·    Economical of weight for handling

Environmental Issues:
Nestlé aims to reduce the impact of packaging at every stage. It will:
·    Use cardboard made from pure wood pulp from Sweden, where two trees are planted for every tree cut down
·    Avoid materials which will have a negative effect on the environment when packaging is being produced and when it is disposed of
·    Reduce packaging by using materials that are lower in weight and volume, by simplifying the packaging and by increasing the use of recyclable material.
All this was copied, without alteration to the wording, from this page: on 22/09/06.
This link was not specifically talking about Smarties, but was a policy document in relation to all of Nestle's products. It does, therefore, affect Smarties tubes but is not exclusive to them.  

Look at the five points in the 'Manufacture of packaging' section. I bet that Hexatubes beat the old tubes hands down on all five. Obviously this means that as far as Smarties tubes go, Nestle have saved a packet by changing to Hexatubes, but there is more to it that that....

Look at 'Environmental Issues'. I think that point number two is the killer blow for the tubes and their lids. If Nestle are avoiding materials that have a negative effect on the envronment at the production end and when the consumer throws it away, those little plastic lids just had to go! But why you ask? They're only small, and I keep mine in the loft, not in a land-fill. Well check this out...  
Nestlé Rowntree produced 5,000 million Smarties caps over a 25 year period!
What a mind-blowing figure! You can see how that sort of thing might affect the environment.

I took the info from this link in September 2006, but I think it is two or three years old:


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