Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t really going to say much more about it until I saw this advert from Sweethearts Candy:
You remember Sweethearts, don’t you? They are the best known brand of what are called “conversation hearts” for the Valentine “season.” You may recall that Necco, the company that produced those tooth-breaking confections, went out of business, leaving us heartless for awhile there. I wrote about this sad state of affairs back in 2019.
Here’s some history on conversation hearts from Spangler Candies, the company that bought the Sweethearts brand.
In the 1860s, Daniel Chase was the first to print sayings on candy hearts. Daniel was the brother of Oliver Chase, the founding father of the candy manufacturer New England Confectionary Company (NECCO). Daniel invented a machine that pressed a felt roller pad moistened with red vegetable coloring against a printing dye, which would stamp the sayings on the hearts. The printed hearts were originally shared at parties and weddings.
The Sweethearts brand was created in 1902. The original hearts included sayings that are still popular today such as “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.” Sweethearts grew in popularity over the next several decades.
In the early 1990s, Sweethearts began to update the sayings each year, retiring some while adding others. The first new phrase, "Fax Me," gained a lot of attention from Sweethearts fans. Following this notable effort, each year Sweethearts receives hundreds of suggestions from romantics, candy lovers and school children. From old tech, "Call Me" to new tech, "Text Me," Sweethearts phrases have reflected eras throughout history.
In 2018, Sweethearts was acquired by Spangler Candy Company, which has been a part of America's candy culture and heritage for 115 years. As a century-old candy maker, Spangler knows how important this brand is. Consumers love Sweethearts, WE love Sweethearts, and as a candy company, we are excited to celebrate this brand’s return!
If you watched the video link above, you know that this year Spangler has added sixteen new phrases focusing on encouragement and teamwork to the usual flirty formula.
Sweethearts Celebrates Teamwork and Encouragement for Valentine's Day 2022
Just when we all need a little boost, fans of the beloved candy hearts will find 16 new sayings inside this year’s boxes including, “WAY 2 GO,” “CRUSH IT” AND “HIGH FIVE” alongside classic messages like “BE MINE,” HUG ME” and “CUTIE PIE”,
Certainly we all could use a little encouragement right now. The only mystery to me about all this remains the fact that Sweethearts (like their cousins Necco wafers) are hard as rocks and basically taste like nothing. I suppose they are good for encouraging conversations, so that’s truth in advertising. And, they are hearts which are sweet, so that's something.
They are great for math activities such as counting, sorting, graphing, patterning, and they hold up reasonably well for arts and crafts projects. But their appeal as a candy is…limited. Two other companies make versions of the chatty candies: Brach’s and Sweet Tarts. The latter has the benefit of the traditional Sweet Tart flavor, although the sayings are etched into the candy rather than printed on the surface.
If you wrote the words for the conversation hearts, what would you choose? Any new ideas you’d like to suggest? How do you feel about this year’s encouraging phrases?
Most of all: do you actually eat them? Perhaps they are meant to reinforce the notion that while love is sweet, it’s also really really hard.