Skip to content

Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

Back to table


Is the Smarties brand ethical and sustainable?

Smarties is a Nestlé chocolate brand that is listed in The Good Shopping Guide’s Ethical Chocolate Ratings Table. Although the brand is yet to meet our ethical standards, we expect the brand to improve in the future. There are a number of different attributes that a brand must comply with in order for us to grant Ethical Accreditation and excels in some of them. However, there is still significant room for improvement.

For example, there are no Fairtrade chocolate options. The importance of ethically sourced ingredients is indisputable now more than ever. Using Fairtrade products ensures that everyone involved in the manufacturing process from start to finish gets a fair wage for their work.

Smarties- as well as many brands Nestlé owns- does not carry any fairtrade products. We would have extra confidence in this brand if it submitted itself to apply for Ethical Accreditation, whereby The Good Shopping Guide would be able to make a further detailed assessment and provide recommendations for ethical improvement. We acknowledge that there is a lot of room for improvement by this brand, but we are confident that this brand can become Ethically Accredited in the future. Find out more about the ethical issues faced by the Chocolate sector and see how other brands score in our Ethical Chocolate Ratings Tables.

What does Smarties do and what is its history?

In 1882 original smarties were first made by Rowntree’s in York and were originally known as chocolate beans and they soon grew in popularity. The treat got its new and current name of ‘Smarties’ in 1937, in an effort to appeal to children looking for a bar of more exciting chocolate. This was clearly a ‘smart’ choice as in 2001 smarties was the UK’s bestselling children’s confectionery brand with sales of over £56 million. In 2007 the brand decided to stop using any artificial colours and flavours, which led to the discontinuation of the blue smarties for a short time until the brand discovered they could use naturally occurring spirulina seaweed and bring back the colour. In 2021 Smarties became the first global confectionery brand to swap to recyclable paper packaging, removing around 250 million plastic packs being distributed every year.

For which criteria does Smarties perform poorly? 

Despite Smarties ranking highly in many categories there are still some issues yet to be dealt with by the company; the availability of Organic products, Public Record Criticisms, and the availability of Fairtrade products.

A consumer watchdog has filed a complaint against Nestlé and Ferrero in relation to recent E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks involving the companies. In the action, Foodwatch France lists seven offenses including placing on the market products harmful to health and failure to implement procedures to withdraw or recall such a product, endangering the lives of others, and exporting to a non-EU country food potentially harmful to health. The two complaints include a 6-year-old, who was hospitalised because of a Salmonella infection after eating Kinder chocolate, said Foodwatch. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal inquiry into the incident.

In what areas does Smarties score well for its ethics?

Smarties scores above our benchmark in vital categories such as having Vegetarian and Vegan options, an Environmental Report, use of Nuclear power and Armaments.

More information about Smarties…

If you want to see how Smarties compares to other ethical and sustainable chocolate brands, see our Ethical Chocolate Ratings Table. If you are involved with a chocolate brand or product, why not find out more information about getting Ethical Accreditation with The Good Shopping Guide?


Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


  • Public Record Criticisms+


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating