Smarties gets better wrap

Smarties®, the venerable pill-shaped candy from Ce De Candy, marked its 50th anniversary by switching back to cellophane wrapping in early 1999.

The company previously had used cellophane until 1997, when it switched to polyvinyl chloride for economic reasons, says Michael Dee, executive vice president of the Union, NJ-based company.

But running PVC on Ce De Candy’s wrapping machines produced so much static that the machines sometimes jammed. “Instead of flowing freely, [the PVC] would stick to the machine, miss a gripper and jam the machine,” Dee explains. “And that might happen three or four times in a roll.”

A representative from UCB Films (Smyrna, GA) visited the factory and showed Dee that UCB’s 0.75-mil cellophane would run more efficiently on Ce De Candy’s machines, according to Dee. “The people in our factory were delighted when we switched back to cellophane,” he says.

When asked about the higher cost of cellophane vs PVC, Dee says the switch in materials actually improves overall economics because downtime is greatly reduced. Besides, he says, “How do you put a price on worrying when you come in if the plant’s going to be running or not?” he says.

Dee says cellophane is slightly clearer, but most consumers won’t see a difference.

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