This year you might have to find another way to ask your sweetie to “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me.” Valentine’s Day’s most popular candy, SweetHearts, those tiny heart-shaped confections printed with terms of endearment, won’t be produced.
New England Confectionary Company (Necco) annually made more than eight billion (13 million pounds) of the tiny hearts in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, but despite a great effort to save the oldest continually operating candy company in the country, NECCO was shut down in 2018.
With Necco dead, so too are SweetHearts — for now anyway.
Competing brands offer rival ripoffs of the iconic heart candies, but SweetHearts is the original, most recognized and favored brand. SweetHearts’ hold strong sentimental value for many people in the U.S. and their sales were the strongest — by a long shot.
Any SweetHearts products you find online or in stores this year are leftover from previous years — which you may or may not be okay with.
Conversation heart sales had been increasing year after year. Candystore.com named them the #1 most popular Valentine’s Day candy in 2018.
Of course, the popularity and sales potential weren’t going to go unnoticed. Necco ended up being purchased in an auction by Round Hill Investments. The Sweethearts brand was then sold to the Spangler Candy Company in late September 2018.
When it was in full swing, it took Necco 11 months to produce enough conversation hearts to fulfill demand. As time ticked away during its recent auction process, it became less likely that stores would have enough SweetHearts to stock shelves for 2019.
The good news is that SweetHearts were bought, and while there will be no SweetHearts this year, things are looking good for the future.
The CEO of Spangler, Kirk Vashaw, confirmed that SweetHearts will return to shelves soon. “We are looking forward to announcing the relaunch of Sweethearts for the 2020 Valentine’s Day season.”
So for the 2019 season you’ll have to get a little creative with your sweet sentiments. But thankfully, by next year, your favorite way of expressing noncommittal innuendos will once again, be an option.
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