- The familiar Valentine's Day candy, known as Sweethearts or "conversation hearts," will not be sold in stores this year.
- With a change in the factory's ownership, there wasn't enough time to produce enough candy hearts for the Valentine's Day season.
- Luckily, the conversation hearts are expected to be back on shelves in 2020 under the candy's new owner, Spangler Candy Company.
With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, you may have noticed that stores are already dripping with red and are filling their shelves with heart-shaped chocolate boxes as well as other Valentine's Day-themed candies. But there is one familiar Valentine's Day treat you won't be seeing on shelves this year and that's the beloved Sweethearts, also affectionately dubbed "conversation hearts."
For the very first time in 153 years, Sweethearts are not going to be sold in stores in February
The candy's original producer, the New England Confectionery Company (Necco), went bankrupt in 2018 after being in operation for over 100 years. According to Food Business, Necco was bought by Round Hill Investments at a bankruptcy auction, who then shut the Necco factory down back in July and sold it to an undisclosed buyer.
The company was sold again in September 2018, and the Sweethearts brand finally found its official new home with Spangler Candy Company , the maker of the famous Dum-Dums lollipops.
The Necco factory was shut down, putting a halt on Sweetheart production
Because the Necco factory was shut down during the time of its auction , the production of the conversation hearts was paused making a significant dent in the Sweethearts' production timeline.
Every year, Necco previously had produced nearly 8 billion hearts. And in order to do that, the factory produced about 100,000 pounds of Sweethearts every day for 11 months, according to The Huffington Post. The entire Sweetheart supply would then be sold within a six-week period, leading up to Valentine's Day.
There just wasn't enough time to make a new batch of Sweethearts
With only five months left until Valentine's Day after Spangler Candy Co. bought the brand, there simply wasn't enough time to produce such a large quantity of Sweethearts in time 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," Kirk Vashaw, chairman and chief executive officer of Spangler Candy Co., said in a statement to Baking Business .
But fear not, Sweethearts will be back in 2020
But there is good news Sweethearts are expected to be back on the shelves in 2020.
"We look forward to announcing the Sweethearts relaunch for the 2020 Valentine season," Vashaw said in his statement.
If you can't wait until next year, you can order a box on Amazon and eBay
For those of you who can't go a year without your Sweethearts, you can still purchase them online. Amazon and eBay are both selling boxes and bags of the candy hearts.
Just know that these boxes have probably been sitting in a warehouse since last year, so you'll want to check the expiration dates on them.