Valentine's Day 2019 was a dark time for anyone used to expressing their feelings through candy. Following the demise of the New England Confectionary Company, or Necco, in 2018, SweetHearts were missing from shelves. This year, SweetHearts have a new owner, and it was so eager to get them out in time for Valentine's Day 2020 that many of the conversation hearts are missing their familiar sayings.
Spangler Candy Company acquired the former Necco candy in September 2018, which means manufacturers have had more than a year to perfect their production of SweetHearts. But some kinks still need to be worked out; according to CandyStore.com, 97 percent of the conversation hearts it reviewed didn't have a complete, legible phrase on them. Some bore partial prints or illegible markings, but the majority—65 percent—were totally blank. This data was based on 10 boxes containing more than 230 SweetHearts altogether.
Transporting the candy-making equipment from the old Necco factory in Boston to Spangler's headquarters in Ohio was just one challenge the company faced. When the machines were reassembled, Spangler realized the printer necessary to make SweetHearts's cutesy sayings was broken. It had to settle for a replacement printer, which as CandyStore.com's review shows, also didn't work according to plan.
Spangler's production hiccups spell bad news for fans of the candy. Fewer boxes are being shipped to stores, which means that you may have trouble finding them if you wait to do your Valentine's Day candy shopping until February 13.
Though their signature feature is missing, the SweetHearts still have their classic taste; Spangler used the original recipe from 1902. The production errors might also make them more desirable to collectors of rare candy, so unless you want to miss out on SweetHearts two Valentine's Days in a row, pick them up sooner rather than later.