Smarties topped our exciting sweetie poll this summer as the public’s favourite York sweetie. Originally introduced by Rowntree’s of York in 1882 as “Chocolate Beans” and rebranded as “Smarties” in 1937 – the sweets have been a popular favourite for over a century and are now sold across the globe. Second place in the poll – Fruit Pastilles, are again steeped in York heritage and Nestlé Rowntree’s oldest product, launched 132 years ago in 1881.
In fact, both sweets that top the poll were created by Frenchman August Claude Gadget, who was hired by Rowntree’s in 1879 to create a new range of sweets for the York company. Using experience of popular confectionery from the continent, Gadget developed Rowntree’s Pastilles and Rowntree’s Clear Gums. These later became Fruit Pastilles and Fruit Gums and fast became popular favourites with the public, helping to turn around the fortunes of the company, which was struggling at the time. Gadget continued his success developing Smarties shortly after. Third place Jelly Tots are one of the newest sweets in the poll, launched in 1967, and are a popular with children of all ages.
Check out some of our top sweetie facts!
- The music for the famous “Smartie people” advert was composed by Mike Batt, who later composed the Wombles theme tune.
- The first Smarties TV ad was shown in 1956 with the slogan “Sweetest, treatest, best to eatest, made by Rowntree.”
- Polos were first created in York in 1948, having had the launch postponed because of World War II.