Sweetheart Candies Will Be Unavailable

Sweetheart Candies

via Flickr

Sweetheart Candies

SweetHearts candies have been a tradition to give to others every Valentines Day for multiple generations. However, this year’s Valentine’s Day will be slightly less sweet. Unfortunately, the SweetHearts candy will be unavailable this year.

It’s hard to believe that such a popular candy won’t be made for the first time since 1866. SweetHearts or Conversation Hearts are the sugary and colorful candy with messages written on them. The sweets found this year will be from last year’s batch. This candy not being available is due to having a new parent company. Conversation Hearts’ parent company, NECCO, has been struggling to keep its profits from declining for the last 15 years. NECCO’s struggle ended in May of 2018.

NECCO was auctioned at a bankruptcy auction and purchased by Round Hill Investments. Round Hill Investments is a company from Connecticut that has bought and saved dying brands such as PBR and Hostess. After the purchase, things seemed to look better. Suddenly in July, the NECCO factory closed abruptly. This sent all 230 employees home permanently in the middle of the week. Apparently, Round Hill reconsidered its ownership of NECCO and sold it to the publicly unknown new owner. NECCO was sold once again in September by this company. This company, Spangler Candy Company, is the current owner of NECCO.

However, the CEO of this company, Kirk Vashaw, announced “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. We look forward to announcing the SweetHearts relaunch for the 2020 Valentine season.” There are no new SweetHearts because it had received several warnings from the Food and Drug Administration before NECCO closed. These warnings regarded food safety violations through rodents. To solve this issue, Spangler bought 20 acres nearby its other candy making facilities to ensure that SweetHearts are produced in a cleaner environment which will take significant renovations that will finish after this year’s Valentine’s Day. This brings up the current predicament.

Although new SweetHearts won’t be available, there are other options available. Brands such as Brach’s Confections and Sour Patch have made knockoff conversation hearts. Another option is to order last year’s SweetHearts, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. Throughout the years, NECCO has always been known to put form and function before flavor in their candies. Even during the Spanish-American War and during World War I, the U.S. government packed an entire’s year’s production of NECCO Wafers into soldiers’ ration packs as they are so durable. Conversation Hearts have become a joke the community with many people expressing the unpleasantness that comes from eating them and yet they still miss this candy.