Most popular conversation hearts won’t be available this Valentine’s Day
The conversation is over. At least this Feb. 14.
America’s most beloved Valentine’s Day candy — SweetHearts, those cute conversation hearts with phrases like “Cutie Pie,” “Say Yes” and “True Love” — won’t be on the shelves this year.
Why? Well, despite SweetHearts being the No. 1 Valentine’s Day candy, the company that made them, New England Confectionery Company (aka Necco), went out of business in 2018. CNBC reports the business was sold to Round Hill Investments, which in turn sold the license for SweetHearts to Spangler Candy Co. (They make Dum Dum lollipops.)
However, Spangler just didn’t have enough time to ramp up production on the candies.
“There are a lot of manufacturing challenges and unanswered questions at this point,” Spangler CEO Kirk Vashaw said in a statement last fall. “We want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market.”
Keep in mind: SweetHearts aren’t the only brand of conversation hearts out there. It’s just that SweetHearts, which were first produced in 1886, make up 80 percent of the market. That’s a lotta hearts.
Eagle-eyed shoppers might be able to find a few rare bags of SweetHearts left over from last year at some online sites. But, CandyStore.com warns, candy does have expiration dates .
Over the past few years, CandyStore.com reports SweetHearts have slowly overtaken heart-shaped boxes of chocolate as the top Valentine’s Day candy gift. In 2018, the sweet treat generated $1.8 billion in candy sales. Looks like there will be a new champ in 2019.
But don’t go thinking SweetHearts won’t be back.
“We are looking forward to announcing the relaunch of Sweethearts for the 2020 Valentine’s Day season,” Vashaw said in the company’s statement.
Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at 724-226-4697, [email protected] or via Twitter @CPastrickTrib.