Sweethearts candies won't be available this Valentine's Day Sweethearts are an iconic Valentine's Day candy. (iStock/photogem/Windell Oskay/Flickr)
Sweethearts candies won't be available this Valentine's Day
Lexile

Sweethearts have helped romantics express their softer sides. They have done so for more than a century. Sweetheart are pastel-colored, heart-shaped candies. They are stamped with cutesy phrases. Those phrases include “Be Mine” and “Me & You.” It includes “Love Me” and “Marry Me.” Sure, it’s not poetry. But it certainly gets the point across. And the treats have become a confectionary tradition, particularly on Valentine’s Day.

But this February 14, you will be hard pressed to find Sweethearts on grocery shelves. Production of the candies ground to a halt after the company that historically made them went out of business. That's according to Amelia Lucas reporting for CNBC.

The New England Confectionery Company (Necco) is one of the oldest candy companies in America. It had been making Sweethearts since the turn of the 20th century. But Necco was recently beset by financial woes. So it abruptly shut down in July. This came after it was purchased from a bankruptcy auction by Round Hill Investments. That's according to Clair Robins of Candystore.com. In September, Round Hill sold the SweetHearts brand to the Spangler Candy Company. But this was not in time for Spangler to produce enough candies for Valentine’s Day.

Sweethearts are a hugely popular snack during the most romantic time of the year. Robins reports that “conversation hearts” are America’s No. 1 candy during the Valentine’s season. Sweethearts account for around 80 percent of the sales. When it was still up and running, Necco produced 8 billion Sweethearts annually. It sold its full supply of the candy in the six-week period leading up to Valentine’s Day. It would be very difficult, in other words, for Spangler to meet demand for the treats within the span of just a few months.

Much of the candy's appeal can be attributed to the nostalgia it evokes. You won't find many who will advocate for their taste. The flavor has been compared to Pepto-Bismol. But they are an iconic American confectionary. They have changed and evolved with the rest of the nation.

As Annette Foglino wrote in a 2011 Smithsonian article, the origins of the candy can be traced back to Daniel Chase. He is the brother of Necco’s founder. He devised a machine that could stamp words onto candy with red vegetable dye. There were precursors to conversation hearts. They were large, scalloped wafers. They were adorned with rather long-winded messages. These messages included: “Married in White, You Have Chosen Right” and “How Long Shall I Have to Wait? Please Be Considerate.”

When the candy as we know it made its debut in 1902, the messages were shortened. Some of the original phrases can still be seen on the candies today. These include “Be Mine,” “Be True” and “Kiss Me.” But others have not stood the test of time. “Fax Me,” for instance, has been phased out. It has been traded for the more contemporary, “Text Me.”

It’s not clear when Sweethearts will be making their return to stores. Kirk Vashaw, Spangler Chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the company is “committed to making sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market. Doing it right takes time.” In response to a request for comment from CNBC, Spangler added:

For those in need of the conversation heart candy fix, you can still buy Sweethearts on Amazon. But just be aware that they will have been produced prior to July 2018. So, perhaps, for this year’s Valentine’s Day gift, chocolate might be the better bet.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What candy do you think best represents Valentine's Day? Why?
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COMMENTS (76)
  • Jack-E2
    2/01/2019 - 10:12 a.m.

    its so sad that these great tasting candies wont be available this February 14 (valentines day) the company started in 1902 and was bought by another company the company didn't have enough time to supply the demand of 8 billon sweethearts the good news is that they will be in stores valentines day 2019 I really enjoyed this article
    because it was about candy I really hope that you can read this article and learn more about it

  • BenP-E2
    2/01/2019 - 10:13 a.m.

    I personally think that this is an outrage! These candies are like, the best Valentine's Day candy you can get probably like, anywhere! Their so scrumptious and delicious! Why would one do something like this to his fellow mankind! Their so crunchy, but then you get through that crunch and it's so chewy.

    • Aryson-jen
      2/06/2019 - 01:56 p.m.

      The candy hearts were out for a long time. This Valentine's Day won't be the same. We're probably going to have to make do with chocolate. I wish the candy hearts would still be there on Valentine's Day because they are so good.

  • Weston-E2
    2/01/2019 - 10:14 a.m.

    sweetharts won't be in stores this valentines day because of a bankruptcy problem and a other company running them out of business. at first I thought that these candies were
    liked and often bought because of valentines day but now I realize that valentines day only comes 1 time a year so that means that people only buy them once a year.

  • karlised-orv
    2/01/2019 - 12:33 p.m.

    I think that the candy hearts, were a great candy to represent Valentines Day. Its too bad that there taking a break this year. I guess chocolate is a great representative for Valentines day.

  • Miley-jen
    2/01/2019 - 04:10 p.m.

    The sweethearts should not close at all.????????????????????????????????????
    And all the people swill be sad when the sweetheart closes .


    I ? sweethearts candies. People enjoy sweethearts all the time.????????????

    ??????.

  • Carla-jen
    2/01/2019 - 04:44 p.m.

    I think they should go to Sweethearts Company and get it to work. And instead of sad???????? words, they should do lovely words????????. I think that they shouldn't have left the place because now people are probably sad????. People are probably going to just go get flowers and chocolate now.

  • Maricel A-mag
    2/01/2019 - 11:30 p.m.


    These candies were really ridiculous and that's why the company exploded according to the type of market in which people preferred to buy chocolates instead of buying cake products.

  • Will-E2
    2/04/2019 - 10:35 a.m.

    This article is about sweethearts valentines candy not being in stores!! The company that made them went out of business. The company was sold to a different company called Spangler. I chose this article because it looked interesting because sweethearts are a popular candy.

  • Rachel-E2
    2/04/2019 - 10:42 a.m.

    This article was about how you might not be able to find any more Sweethearts candy in stores. I think that some people really want to have them to give to their loved ones. At least you can still get them on Amazon. Valentines day is really important to some people.

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