Czech production of iconic ‘Lentilky’ candy moving to Germany

Lentilky, photo: Pixabay, CC0, Public Domain

After more than 110 years, the rainbow-coloured, sugar-coated chocolate candies known as Lentilky will no longer be made in the Czech Republic. The Swiss food and drink processing giant Nestlé has decided to move production to Germany as of next spring. The reason is a change in the recipe and packaging.

"We are unifying the recipe between Lentilky and Smarties, which means that there will be less sugar and more chocolate in Lentilky, a decision which was based on consumer tests," Vratislav Janda, the company's director of corporate affairs , told Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál.

The reason for the relocation is that such production requirements can currently only be met in Hamburg. “We want to sell Lentilky in paper packaging, which is rather technologically demanding. We don’t have them in the Czech Republic and so they will be made in Hamburg," Janda said.

The Kneisl company of Holešov, Moravia, began making Lentilky began in 1907. Several years later, the name was used and registered by Philipp Kneisl, founder of the Holešov factory, later renamed to Sfinx.

The Czech-made candies were sold in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as Lentilky under the Sfinx or Orion brand, which fall under Nestlé since 1992. The name is also used in some Latin American countries (e.g., Lentejas in Peru).

Smarties have only been on the market under that name since 1937. Originally, they were made by H.I. Rowntree & Company in the UK. Rowntree's of York, England, have been making "Chocolate Beans" since at least 1882. The product was renamed "Smarties Chocolate Beans" in 1937.

Like Lentilky, a strikingly similar candy, they are currently produced by Nestlé. According to the Swiss company, the relocation of production to Germany will not change the price of the product in stores.

Several other iconic Czech food products have shifted production abroad, Radiožurnál notes. For example, Mondeleez Czech Republic moved its Opavia sponge cake production to Poland five years ago.