If you were relying on those little candy hearts with the cute sayings to express love for someone this Valentine’s Day, may we suggest a text instead?
The company that made Sweethearts Conversation Hearts for more than 100 years — New England Confectionery Company, or Necco — went out of business last year. And there’s a ripple effect only now being felt.
“SweetHearts have gone missing,” CandyStore.com reported last week. “They are the most popular brand of the most popular Valentine’s Day candy, and they’re not on shelves this year.
“As a result, conversation hearts’ reign as the top Valentine’s Day candy will end this year — with sales falling by an estimated 80%.”
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The Spangler Candy Company bought Necco’s “two iconic candy brands” — Sweethearts and Necco Wafers — but new offerings of the candy hearts won’t be available until the 2020 Valentine season, Spangler announced in a press release last fall.
So sorry, Cutie Pie. You’ll have to find a new way to say Be Mine this year.
“The candy company acquired the brands in September and did not have the time to produce the conversation hearts for this Valentine’s Day,” CNBC reports.
Spangler will reintroduce Necco wafers this year, according to CNBC.
Since Necco took over the making of the tiny lozenges of love in 1901, Sweethearts have “become the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in 21 states,” reports Better Homes & Gardens.
“Conversation hearts have been rising in popularity for years, but they were always stuck behind those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates,” CandyStore reports. “That all changed last year when conversation hearts rose above the heart boxes to claim the top spot.”
But the old-school candy hearts aren’t the only Valentine’s Day candy that “speak” anymore.
People reports that “Sour Patch Kids debuted their own conversation hearts this year, and Brach’s version is still available in stores and online.”
Oreo, too, has printed lovey-dovey sayings such as “Dunk in Love” on limited-edition Valentine’s Day cookies this year, People reports.
“But SweetHearts is the original, most recognized and most favored. SweetHearts hold some level of sentimental value for most people in the US. Their nostalgia factor is strong,” writes CandyStore.
“Thus, when talking about conversation hearts, you’re pretty much talking about SweetHearts.”
A Google search reveals that Sweethearts can still be purchased on Amazon and eBay, “though they won’t be fresh,” notes the “Today” show.
“And while this type of hard candy may be able to last for up to a year, its quality might be compromised.
“If you do get a pack and it’s sticky or really grainy, candy experts say it’s best to just toss it since it won’t be such a sweet gift if it makes your lover sick.”