'Silent' sweethearts: Candy hearts are back for Valentine’s Day this year, but the messages are missing

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts have been a staple of Valentine’s Day for as long as most can remember, which is why there was uproar in February 2019, when it was announced that the beloved candies wouldn’t be available for the holiday. This year they’re back, but, after ending up in the hands of Spangler Candy Company, they’re expected to look a bit different this year.

Spangler told the story of how it become the manufacturers of the candy in a press release on its site, detailing the events since former owner NECCO’s bankruptcy in 2018. In it, Spangler wrote of the importance of keeping the candies alive for the Valentine season. However, the acquisition didn’t happen in time for 2019.

“The news of their absence was covered by hundreds of media outlets,” the release reads. “In 2020, Spangler was able to return Sweethearts to store shelves.”

The company even went through the process of locating the candy’s original recipe to re-introduce classic flavors like wintergreen and banana. But production for the new year came with a “few bumps in the road.”

As the release revealed: “The old printing equipment was not reliable so Spangler invested in a new printer, but it was accidentally damaged during production. The result was a few more ‘silent’ hearts than usual.”

Now, when people open up their Valentine’s Day treats, they might be disappointed to not see sweet sayings like, “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me.” Spangler spokeswoman Diana Moore Eschhofen told CNBC that the company understands the disappointment.

“We know that’s disappointing, but it’s a disappointment for us, too,” she told the outlet, adding that not making them at all because of the hiccup wasn’t an option. “It became really apparent to us how much people were going to miss them.”

Customers can expect that some of the phrases they will see are recent additions to the hearts. The company explained that old phrases like “Fax Me” have evolved through the years to messages like “Call Me” and “Text Me” to be more culturally relevant.

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