Q&A: Liz Dee Unwraps Story Behind Smarties (Plus,Win a Year’s Supply!)

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Halloween is quickly approaching, and we’re ready to celebrate with vegan sweets that aren’t ghoulish to animals!

If you’re looking for kind candy to give out to trick-or-treaters, Smarties are a smart choice. Did you know they’re vegan?

We talked one-on-one with Smarties Co-President, Liz Dee, about this compassionate, family-run company founded in 1949, which sells over 2 billion rolls of candy every year.

Read on for our exclusive Q&A…and how YOU can win a year’s supply of Smarties!

Can you share a bit about your story, and your “a-ha moment” that led you to go vegan?

I grew up eating meat, dairy, and eggs, never seriously questioning where my food came from. One day in 2011, I was doing research for work about veganism because Smarties are a vegan candy. One thing led to another and I was suddenly watching undercover videos from factory farms and slaughterhouses; I was appalled by what I saw. I decided to give away my lunch that day and have been vegan ever since.

Smarties have been a popular candy for over 60 years. What do you think make this candy, which happens to be vegan, such a sustaining success?

Smarties taste great and people love them, myself included! That’s the number one reason why we’ve been so successful 68 years after our company was founded.

Also, that Smarties are vegan is a key selling point. They are also gluten-free, fat-free, peanut-free, free of all top allergens and only 25 calories per classic candy roll. Smarties appeal to modern consumers who want tasty treats, but don’t want to sacrifice what’s important to them.

Finally, Smarties is powered by an incredible team that works hard to consistently create delicious, high quality candies for everyone to enjoy. We would be nowhere without the dedicated individuals who made and continue to make Smarties’ success possible.

What are your plans for the future of Smarties?

For starters, we just launched the #LittleSmarties campaign, championing remarkable smarties throughout history including Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Jane Goodall. Through sharing DIY costume ideas of these world-changing individuals with households across the country, we honor the story behind the name “Smarties” and encourage intellectual curiosity at every age.

Many inspiring vegan and veg-friendly brands and restaurants are being spearheaded by women. As a now Co-President, do you have a story to share or words of advice for someone just starting out?

Work hard. Work smart. Be patient. Don’t give up.

For example, when we wanted to add solar panels to the roof in our New Jersey facility, it took years to come to fruition. It was a complicated project with a lot of details to comb through and important decisions to make every step of the way. First, we needed a new roof on the entire facility. After installing the roof, we needed to ensure that it was sound. Once confirmed, we were ready to add solar panels. The panels now offset around half of our energy usage. Some projects, like our solar example, will take a long time to see through. Perseverance pays off!

Why do you think Smarties make for a perfectly shareable Halloween treat? And do Smarties really make you smarter? (kidding)

Smarties are a convenient and accessible treat. They are a classic, iconic candy that tick so many boxes, and are uniquely shareable for Halloween. As I mentioned before, being peanut-free and free of all top allergens, Smarties are a treat that are safe to eat for a wide variety of individuals.

Especially on Halloween, when we don’t know the dietary sensitivities, allergies or preferences of the trick-or-treaters who come knocking, it’s a treat that many people can safely enjoy. With 15 tablets per classic candy roll, a little really does go a long way. And, while Halloween won’t be warm where we live, for those in warmer climates, Smarties won’t melt in the heat.

As to whether Smarties really make you smarter… I’d like to think so! In all seriousness, education has always been core to our brand. In fact, back in 1949, my grandfather, Edward Dee, chose the name “Smarties” to encourage people to pursue an education. Since then, we continually invest in our “Smarties Think” initiative, a partnership with DonorsChoose.org to support classrooms in need by matching grants of $25,000 annually. This year marks a total of $125,000 donated from Smarties Candy Company over the years to support classrooms in need. We want everyone to be a smartie!

Enter to win: A whole year’s supply of Smarties candy!

It’s quick & easy to enter our Smarties contest, and the prize is oh-so-sweet!

Just comment on our Instagram post and follow the @smarties Instagram page by October 30th and you’ll be entered to win your very own year’s supply of Smarties.

**Note: This contest is open to US residents. A winner will be announced on our @compassion_over_killing Instagram page on October 31, 2017…Halloween!

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