Say It Ain’t So: Sweethearts Go Missing This Valentine’s Day!
Everyone, and I mean everyone and their mother, has either given or received Sweethearts on Valentine's Day.
They've been around since the late 1880s, so there's a good chance your Gram or even your Great-Gram got them! The tiny sugar hearts with sweet (or sometimes sassy) sayings on them have practically become a symbol for the holiday, right up there with the chubby cherub toting a bow and arrow, and that heart-shaped box of chocolates. In fact, the cute confection recently dethroned that chocolate treat to take the top spot on the list of most popular Valentine's Day candies in the U.S.!
But what if I told you Sweethearts will be missing from store shelves this Valentine's Day? And that if you did happen to get your hands on some online, they'd likely be from last year!? (Not that that would make much of a difference, because let's be honest, unless you were lucky enough to get a box hot off the press, they had that kind of stale quality to them anyway. Don't get me wrong, I kinda dig that about them, but that's just me.)
It's true. After the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO for short) closed up shop last summer, there was a lag in production before a rival candymaker, Spangler Candy Company bought the place, and subsequently the Sweetheart (and NECCO wafers) brand.
Spangler promises they'll bring back the Valentine's Day favorite during a relaunch of the brand in 2020. But until then, there will be a considerable hole in market when it comes to the sentimental sweets. But do not fret. The brand is in good hands, as Spangler is no stranger to legendary treats. They're the ones who make both Dum-Dums and Circus Peanuts (two of my favs!) With any luck, they'll even create a hybrid of sorts. Perhaps one day you'll be able to send a sweet, lickable treat to a dum-dum; A lollipop that reads, You Suck? Ok, maybe not.
"We wish we could have Sweethearts out for the 2019 Valentine season, but it’s just not possible," Spangler said in a statement to CandyStore.com. "We are committed to making sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market. Doing it right takes time."
Sweethearts could return in 2020, but the jury is still out.
In the meantime, we're sure other candy companies will have similar products, with sweet little sayings. But they won't be the original Sweethearts. If you're cool with letting an impostor do the talking for you, then by all means.
But if you want to wait for the real thing, it will be an exercise in patience. And as they say, anything worth having, is worth waiting for. (Isn't that what they say? If they don't they should!)