Sweethearts Candy Hearts Will Be Absent This Valentine’s Day
2019 may go down in history as the year we all had to say "Be Mine" and "Kiss Me" without the aid of a chalky candy heart.
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Bad news for all you romantics, lovers and fans of candy that is both chalky and talky: Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, that Valentine’s Day staple, are sitting 2019 out.
That’s right. This year you will have to figure out some other way to ask that cutie you have a crush on to "Be Mine,” “Kiss Me” or “Say Yes.”
The good news is the company that now makes the classic candies says they’ll be back on shelves for Valentine’s Day 2020, so it’s just this one year you’ll have to muddle through with nary a “True Love” or “Sweet Talk” in sight.
Here’s the deal: Sweethearts, which trace their origins back to the 1860s, had been made by New England Confectionery Company (aka Necco) since at least 1902. By last year, when conversation hearts unseated heart-shaped boxes of chocolate to become, according to CandyStore.com, the top-selling Valentine’s Day candy of 2018, Necco was producing about 8 billion of the little candies per year, taking 11 months to produce them and then selling pretty much its entire stock in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.
But last spring, Necco announced that it would have to find a buyer or shutter operations, prompting a candy-consumer panic. In late July, Necco shut down its factory. Eventually, Necco was bought at auction by food-brand turnaround company Round Hill Investments, which then, in September 2018, turned around and sold it to Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company, maker of Dum Dum lollipops. By then it was too late to ramp up production to meet the seasonal demands of Sweetheart lovers for Valentine’s Day 2019.
“There are a lot of manufacturing challenges ... and we want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market,” Spangler Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw said at the time of the acquisition. “We look forward to announcing the Sweethearts relaunch for the 2020 Valentine season.”
If you’re desperate for a way to tell someone they are a “Dear One,” “Cutie Pie” or “New Love,” you can find back stock (probably from last year’s batch) of the original Necco’s Sweetheart Conversation Hearts on Amazon (see here, here, here and here) or eBay (see here), but they sure ain’t cheap. Or you could satisfy yourself with Brach’s version of same (see here).
You could also just make your own with this top-rated recipe.