Sweethearts, the classic candies that many Americans have grown up with, will not be on the shelves this Valentine’s Day.
The New England Confectionery Co. (Necco), which manufactured the heart-shaped candies for more than a century, filed for bankruptcy protection last year. Spangler Candy Co., a lollipop, marshmallow and candy cane maker based in Ohio, bought the shuttered company in September but didn’t have enough time to get the candies on the shelves for 2019.
“There are a lot of manufacturing challenges and unanswered questions at this point, and we want to make sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market,” said Spangler CEO Kirk Vashaw.
Competitors such as Brach’s are still making sweetheart candies with messages like “miss you” and “love you.” However, online retailer CandyStore.com says Sweethearts are by far the most popular brand, commanding 80 percent of U.S. market for candy hearts.
The retailer also reported that consumers are expected to spend $1.8 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts, flowers and, of course, candy.
Valentine’s Day candy facts from CandyStore.com:
• 43 percent of people said they will buy themselves a box of chocolates this year.
• 58 million pounds of chocolate are bought during Valentine’s Day week.
• The peak selling period for conversation hearts is only 6 weeks long.
• It takes manufacturers 11 months to produce enough for those 6 weeks.
• Vodka infused with candy remained popular with conversation hearts last year.
• Children receive 39 percent of all Valentine’s Day candy and gifts.