Editors note: This post was originally published on January 23, 2019. It was updated on February 13, 2020, after Spangler Candy announced Sweethearts were returning for 2020.
After last year’s announcements that Sweethearts, also known as conversation hearts, would not be available for Valentine’s Day in 2019, this year the company has announced that favorite treat is back! There is a small catch though, they’re in limited quantities at limited retailers and, unfortunately, most of the hearts are missing their signature sayings. The company released a statement of their website, announcing its return.
“In 2018 Sweethearts were in danger of disappearing forever when their owner went bankrupt and there was no one to save the brand. As a century-old candy maker, Spangler knew how important Sweethearts were to the Valentine season. … In 2020, Spangler was able to return Sweethearts to store shelves in limited quantities after a major effort to relocate and rebuild the production equipment, find the original recipe and return classic flavors to the mix like wintergreen and banana.”
So the question here is, are Sweethearts the same even if they don’t have their signature messages printed on them? According to Spengler spokeswoman Diana Moore Eschofen, due to technical challenges, the company was not able to meet all of the consumer demands for 2020. Basically, those bags that were shipped to stores had candy hearts, but not all of them had a saying printed on them. She noted, “We know that’s disappointing, but it’s a disappointment for us, too.”
Despite the minor hiccup, according to Food and Wine, a company representative did confirm that Sweetheart will completely be up and running, in terms of printing and distribution, by 2021. So, yeah, we’ll have to wait another year for that special “be mine” heart, but hey, at least they are back!
I’ll take it!
Sweethearts conversation hearts have made their triumphant return to stores just in the nick of time for the Feb. 14 holiday. pic.twitter.com/Dmhz2naE9m
— KFI AM 640 (@KFIAM640) February 12, 2020
Original story below.
Sorry sweetheart fanatics, for the first time in 153 years, we’ll be celebrating our favorite holiday without Sweetheart’s Conversation Hearts. Sad, sad day indeed. Why, you ask? Well, unfortunately, the company (which you might know as ‘Necco’) is no longer producing the classic Valentine’s Day candy. What does this mean for us? Well, it means they won’t be on store shelves, meaning we will have to find another way to send all those sweet messages to our loved ones.
Sweethearts first began making their candy hearts in 1866. The candy was then taken over by Necco in 1901 and has since become the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in 21 states! Not before makers decided to get creative and start imprinting cute messages on each candy heart such as “Cutie Pie”, “Be Mine”, “Tweet Me,” “Text Me,” “You Rock,” “Soul Mate,” “Love Bug,” “Me + You,” and the famous “Kiss Me”. It was the perfect way to tell someone you liked them without being too obvious. Last year, The Candy Store reported that the hearts were the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in America. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Then, why did they run out of business?
Well, in 2018 Necco was the oldest operating candy company, until July, when the company abruptly closed and announced their plans to sell out. This made it difficult for other businesses since they needed to either buy all of Necco products or purchase the brand individually. In September of that year, Necco was purchased by Round Hill Investments, who then sold it to Spangler Candy Company. Spangler’s are no stranger to candy since they also produce Dum Dum Lollipops, Necco Wafers, and Circus Peanuts.
Because of the amount of time it takes to create a supply of conversation hearts, Spangler Candy Company decided to stop making them, since it didn’t have enough time to make the candies for 2019. Hence, no hearts. For Necco, it took 11 months in total to produce 8 billion conversation hearts, all which would be sold in 6 weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day! Can you believe it! 8 billion hearts for 6 weeks, that’s insane! I’d be worried too.
Since Necco’s factories closed down in July and Spangler didn’t take over the company until September, they weren’t able to keep up the demand for 2019. But, no worries friend’s, Spangler’s CEO did state that the hard candy will be back on shelves in 2020, so, one year won’t kill us. I hope.
Of course, you didn’t think we would leave you empty-handed, right? Can’t wait till 2020 to eat these yummy delicious candies? You can find some batches on our favorite website, Amazon, for as low as $10 for a box of sweethearts! Step aside Willy Wonka, leave it to Amazon to always save the day, am I right? Click here to stock up on our favorite Valentine’s candy and surprise your friends (or your crush) with a special treat. I know I will! I wonder if there will be new flavors next year? Give me that cherry, blue raspberry, and green apple all rolled into one! Please.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.