7 Surprising Facts About Candy Hearts

posted: 02/14/17
by: MIkayla Baiocchi
Candy Hearts
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Candy Hearts

They're cute, they taste kind of chalky and they are a Valentine's Day staple. Do you think that's all there is to know about these candy hearts (a.k.a Sweethearts)? Think again! Here are seven facts that may surprise you about the iconic American candy.

  • They are 115 years old. Necco--one of the oldest candy manufacturers in the country--started to produce these little guys in 1902. More specifically Oliver Chase, the brother of Necco's founder, created a machine that pressed food dye letters into pieces of candy. Hence, Sweethearts were born!
  • They used to be bigger. What a shame! Back in the day, these Sweethearts were once larger and could fit longer phrases on them like "Married in White, you have chosen right" and "Married in Pink, he'll take to drink" (they were also popular to use for weddings).
  • They weren't always just hearts. At their conception, Sweethearts came in a variety of shapes including shells, baseballs and horseshoes. However, it was those in heart shape that people loved the most.
  • Billions sell within weeks. More than eight billion, to be exact, and within a matter of six weeks before Valentine's Day. This translates to 13 million So, it makes sense that Sweethearts make up 40 percent of the V-Day market, according to Necco's Marketing Director Aimee Scott.
  • Necco tried to change their flavor. Marketing research showed that children prefer bolder flavors, so Necco threw out banana, cherry and wintergreen flavors in place of raspberry, lemon and green apple.
  • ...But it didn't go over so well. In response to the flavor changes, baby boomers took action by calling and emailing the company to complain. On Facebook and blog pages, consumers were calling the new Sweetheart "toxic" among other insults. Needless to say, Necco readjusted its formula.
  • They are edible time capsules. Necco has continuously adjusted the messages on these candies to work with American culture and trends, meaning that they are little time capsules. For instance, at the introduction of the Internet in the 1990s, Sweethearts read things like "Fax Me" and "Email Me."