Holidays have always been a time of year where everyone can pig out on indulgent foods and sugary treats. Whether it’s having some hot cocoa and candy canes during Christmas, jelly beans during Easter, or trying to find your favorite candy in a huge pile of other treats during Halloween, candy has found a way to somehow root itself into becoming a part of the holiday celebration. Now that the time to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and both the solar and lunar New Year is over, it’s time to have our sights set on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is that time of year where we get to shower our loved ones with teddy bears, flowers, kisses and of course, candy. And what better way to say ‘I love you’ than with conversation hearts? After all, conversation hearts have been reported to be the most popular Valentine’s Day candy. Unfortunately, it may be harder to express your love through candy hearts this year. The New England Confectionery Co. (Necco), the company known for producing these conversation hearts, has gone out of business. This is hard to believe, since the company make almost 2 billion dollars on these hearts alone during the Valentine season.
Until 2018, Necco was the oldest continually operating candy company but in July, the company abruptly closed and announced they needed to sell. The company began to decline 50% in sales starting around March of 2018. As the company continued to lose money, they found it hard to stay in business and was eventually taken over by the Spangler Candy Co.
At the time Spangler Candy Co. bought over the New England Confectionery Co., there were only a few months left until Valentine’s Day. Because of this, we can expect to see almost an 80% decline in sales of conversation hearts this year. Any conversation hearts you may find in the store are boxes that have been made from 2018. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad, but they will probably be near their expiration date.
Because of the time it takes to create the supply of conversation hearts, Spangler Candy Company didn’t have enough time to make the hearts for 2019. It took Necco 11 months to produce 8 billion conversation hearts. Therefore, due to the poor timing, there will be no conversation hearts being sold this year. Necco used to produce around 100,000 conversation hearts per day, but sadly that number dropped significantly in 2018. This means that 2019 will be the first year since 1868 in which the iconic Valentine’s Day treats won’t be sold. That marks 153 years this candy has hit the stores during the Valentine season.
However, there’s no reason to worry: the Spangler Candy Co. announced that they will produce these candies in time for Valentine’s Day 2020. We may have to wait another year, but America will get its favorite seasonal treat just in time for Valentine’s Day next year. It will be sad to see the aisles of the stores without any conversation hearts stocked up on the shelves, but at least this isn’t permanent. This bittersweet story will have a sweet ending!