If you visit the candy aisle of your local grocery store in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, you might notice that one item is strangely missing: Sweethearts. The candy conversation hearts with cutesy sayings—like Be Mine and Hug Me—won’t be sold at all this year, according to CNBC.
The New England Confectionery Company (Necco), which originally owned the Sweethearts brand as well as Necco Wafers, went out of business last year. However, the Spangler Candy Company, which makes Dum Dums and Circus Peanuts, stepped in and bought the company. (And yes, the humor in Circus Peanuts coming to the rescue of Necco Wafers has not gone unnoticed. At the time of the acquisition last September, a Cracked headline read, "America's Worst Candy Is Saved By Its Second-Worst Candy.”)
At any rate, the new owner promised that both Sweethearts and Necco Wafers would be back on store shelves by 2020. As for this year, Sweethearts' absence will be sorely missed. According to Candystore.com, conversation heart candies were the most popular Valentine’s Day treat in 2018. There are other brands that make similar candies, but Sweethearts led sales by a large margin.
“If the biggest brand vanished, would conversation hearts still be the most popular candy? Not even close,” Candystore.com notes, adding that conversation heart sales are expected to drop by 80 percent this year.
Here are a few other statistics about America’s favorite candy heart brand:
Sweethearts have been around since 1886, and for many customers, it’s the nostalgia surrounding these treats that makes them so irresistible. Sure, you can still find a bag or two on websites like Amazon, but those candies are leftover from previous years—so be sure to check the expiration date first.