If you were hoping to start a sweet conversation with candy hearts this Valentine’s Day, you’re out of luck. According to a report by CNBC, Sweethearts, the wildly popular candy hearts regularly given out at Valentine’s Day, aren’t going to be available this holiday season.
The conversation hearts called Sweethearts have been part of Valentine’s Day culture since they were invented back in the mid-1800s. Candy company Necco had been making the sweet treats — which have cute sayings on them that fit in with the romantic theme — ever since. Then, in July of last year, Necco filed for bankruptcy.
The company was purchased at auction, and Sweethearts — as well as the popular Necco wafer brand — were sold to Spangler Candy. Luckily for fans of the delicious little hearts, Spangler Candy intends to bring them back to customers across the country.
Now for the bad news. Because Sweethearts was purchased just last September, Spangler simply didn’t have the time or the resources to roll out the candies for Valentine’s Day.
“There are a lot of manufacturing challenges and unanswered questions at this point, and we want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market,” Spangler Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw said in a statement.
This could have a surprisingly big impact on Valentine’s Day candy sales. While chocolate is considered a customary gift for loved-up couples on this particular holiday, it’s far from the most popular treat available
In fact, according to research by CandyStore.com, those little conversation hearts are kind of a big deal. They were picked as the top Valentine’s Day candy by 10.5 percent of voters. Heart-shaped chocolates came in at a close second with 9.7 percent of the vote.
And candy conversation hearts have proven big business for Necco before it went under. The candy company was producing an estimated 8 billion Sweethearts per year — and most of those are purchased around Valentine’s Day.
Spangler Candy is already gearing up for the 2020 Valentine’s Day run, however. They’ve assured fans of the candy that Sweethearts will be released in time for next year. Meanwhile, the wildly popular Necca Wafers will return to shelves sometime this year, per a statement from the candy company.
Besides being a major Valentine’s Day staple, conversation hearts have been a significant part of popular culture for over a century. Mickey Mouse gifted some to Minnie, Bart Simpson has used them to insult people, and they even played a significant role in an episode of the beloved television series Arrested Development.
In the meantime, those with romance in mind will have to find another sweet way to charm their beloved on Valentine’s Day.