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

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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What candy do you think best represents Valentine's Day? Why?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • Audrey-E2
    2/04/2019 - 11:00 a.m.

    thes candy hearts have came very popular no valentines bay. they have notes that make people bay.they are so sweet.

  • Alyssa-E2
    2/04/2019 - 11:00 a.m.

    wow! I knew it was popular but not so popular. I didn't know it was the number one1 valentine's day candy. In my opinion, this article is cool because it talks about itself at the right time.I loved it...

  • diovannyt-orv
    2/04/2019 - 11:51 a.m.

    i say fun dip because. because i'm a kid and fun dip is a very tasty treat

  • destinys-orv
    2/04/2019 - 12:03 p.m.

    I think that sweethearts,smarties are two good candies for valentine's day.

  • calebr-orv2
    2/04/2019 - 02:39 p.m.

    The candy I think best represents valentine's day is chocolate, because it has a good taste and it can come in any shape and in a box shaped like a heart.

  • nathanr-orv
    2/04/2019 - 02:42 p.m.

    I think that chocolate is the best way to represent valentines day. because you can have the chocolate be shaped in a heart shape or any other type of valentine shape and it can be in a heart box.

  • ethanm-orv
    2/05/2019 - 11:11 a.m.

    It'll be weird not seeing those candies in the store. I never even liked the taste of those anyway.

  • jordanw-orv1
    2/05/2019 - 11:21 a.m.

    I am sad that these candies won't be around anymore. My favorite candy would have to be those suckers that are heart shaped. Or it would have to be the sugary stick things.

  • jacobt-orv
    2/05/2019 - 11:39 a.m.

    I think the heart shaped candy represents valentines day the best because it's a heart.

  • evaniaw-orv
    2/05/2019 - 11:53 a.m.

    o my gosh that was my favorite candy i was rely looking forward to having some this year