As you prepare to get a gift for the one you love this Valentine’s Day, you’ll have one less option to choose from. Missing from shelves this year will be Valentine’s Day’s most iconic candy – Sweethearts.
The chalky conversation heart candies will not be sold this year, due to a change in the candy’s company ownership which took place last year. It will be the first time in 153 years that the Valentine’s Day candy will not be sold.
New England Confectionary Company – also known as Necco – went out of business last year, having been bought by Round Hill Investments in an auction. Following the purchase, the Necco wafer brand and Sweethearts candies were sold to the Spangler Candy Company, which took over the rights to the brand in September.
How did this impact the decision to not sell Sweethearts this year?
While the candy hearts look simple enough to produce, it turns out that the process for making them is quite involved, as it generally took Necco 11 months to churn out 8 billion hearts. That number may seem like an abundance of hearts. However, according to candystore.com, over 19 million pounds of the candy hearts are sold each year. Additionally, Sweethearts were the top-selling candy of 2018 in the United States, which was the second year in a row of taking top honors. Clearly, Sweethearts will not be extending that run into a third year.
The good news is that Spangler Chairman and CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says the hearts will be available again in 2020.
"There are a lot of manufacturing challenges and unanswered questions at this point, and we want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market."
While we wait for next year, there are still plenty of ways for you to non-verbally express your feelings to your loved ones. Brach’s version of the conversation hearts are still available, as are Sour Patch Kids new Conversation Hearts Valentine's Day Candy. As of this writing, Necco Sweethearts Conversation Hearts are technically still available on Amazon, but we would be wary of the quality and expiration date before buying.
Did this year’s absence of Sweethearts derail your Valentine’s Day plans? What did you do instead? Let us know!