Prepare for a Valentine’s Day without candy hearts.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated January 24, 2019
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Candy Hearts With Messages: Valentine's Day Candy You Can't Buy This Year
Credit: Photo by Cathy Scola/Getty Images

Thoughts of Valentine’s Day—beyond figuring out gifts for a boyfriend or husband and making Galentine’s Day plans—are often filled with iconic candy hearts with messages, or Sweethearts Conversation Hearts candy. These pastel sweets are available in bulk or in individual boxes perfect for class or office Valentines, and their charming messages can warm even the coldest hearts. This year, though, will be the year without the candy hearts.

The producer of the Sweethearts candy hearts with messages, Necco, had a tumultuous 2018, during which the company announced it would be sold and the candy factory was shut down. The company—and the Sweethearts brand—was eventually sold to Spangler Candy Company in September 2018. In the time between the factory shutdown in July and the final sale in September, no Valentine's Day candy hearts were produced.

According to CandyStore, it took Necco 11 months to produce enough Sweethearts for the Valentine’s Day candy spree; the last-minute sale and months-long factory shutdown all-but ensured that there wouldn’t be enough to go around for Valentine’s Day this year. Never fear, though: The CEO of the new company that owns Sweethearts says the candy hearts with messages will be back in 2020. Even with that sweet salvation in sight, 2019 will always be the year without the candy hearts.

Are Sweethearts the tastiest candy out there? Not at all. Are their messages uniquely romantic? Not really. But these conversation hearts are a Valentine’s Day classic that most people probably make an effort to sample every year, even if it’s just a single heart.

Die-hard Sweethearts fans can still find the heart candies online from various retailers, though they should consider checking the expiration date before enjoying them or passing them along to a sweetheart. And, of course, there are alternatives—the candy hearts from SweetTarts are especially delicious ($9 for a 14-ounce bag;