The History of Sweetheart Candies

For over a century, the Valentine’s Day treats, and the messages printed on them, have matched the tone and jargon of the times

More than eight billion, or 13 million pounds, of Sweetheart candies are sold in the six weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. (Colin Young-Wolff / Alamy)

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In an attempt to appease critics, Necco went back to its test kitchen in time for this year’s Valentine’s Day and adjusted its formula. This batch will be a little softer and chewier, says Jeff Green, the company’s vice president of research and development. “We toned down the flavors just a bit; the change was very subtle.” Whether it will be enough for diehard fans remains to be seen.

As for this year’s mottos, with 10,000 suggestions, the company had plenty to choose from and has gone back to using themes. “The majority of them involve movement,” says Scott. So this Valentine’s Day expect to see “Move it,” “Rock On” and “Go, Go, Go.”

Not the most romantic, but naysayers should be relieved that the candy-maker continually nixes the occasional consumer suggestion for “break-up hearts.” Some of the rejects: “Get a Pre-nup” and “Call My Lawyer.”


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