Nestlé is swapping the round Smarties tube for a six-sided “hexatube,” the first change in the sweet’s packaging in 67 years, it said today (Friday).

The familiar packaging was launched in 1938. Nestlé says it has taken a “fresh and funky approach to the re-design.”

The familiar letter inside the lid goes too, to be replace by “constantly updated, quirky messages, stickers or images inside each tube.”

Nestlé said the new packaging would bring the brand to the front of consumers’ minds. It will be available from summer 2005.

“The redesign of the Smarties packaging is part of our on-going programme of product innovation and the result of in-depth research carried out with our consumers,” said Neil Ducray, director of marketing at Nestlé Rowntree. “We have already introduced Smarties Bar and Fruity Smarties which have proved to be a complete success and the Hexatube represents the next exciting stage for the brand.”

Smarties were developed by Rowntree’s of York, which was bought by Nestlé in 1988. The brand was launched as Chocolate Beans in 1937 and packed in the familiar tube. It was renamed Smarties one year later. About 570,000 tubes of Smarties are made at Nestlé Rowntree in York every day and many are exported to the Middle East, the Far East and South America. It is estimated that nearly 16,000 Smarties are eaten every minute in the UK.