Valentine’s Day can be an amazing day for some, and for others, it’s the most annoying day of the year. But whether or not you enjoy the holiday, chances are you associate those little candy hearts with February 14th–but this year, thing’s are going to be a little bit different.
For the first time since 1866, the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day without SweetHeart’s Conversation Hearts. The New England Confectionary Company (which you might more commonly know as ‘Necco’) is no longer producing the classic Valentine’s Day candy, which means all of us are going to have to find another way to tell our crush how we feel about them.
SweetHearts first began making these ever-popular conversation hearts all the way back in 1866. The operation was then taken over by Necco in 1901, and since then, they’ve become the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in approximately 21 states. Last year, CandyStore.com reported that they were the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in America.
With all those statistics going in SweetHearts’ favor–why are they not being sold in 2019?
Until 2018, Necco was the oldest continually operating candy company—but in July, the company abruptly closed and announced they needed to sell. Someone either needed to buy all of Necco or purchase the brands individually and in September, Necco was purchased by Round Hill Investments, who then sold the SweetHearts brand to Spangler Candy Company.
One thing most people probably don’s know about the popular Valentine’s Day candy is how long they take to produce. Because of the insane timespan it takes to create the supply of conversation hearts, Spangler Candy Company didn’t have enough time to make the hearts for 2019. It took Necco 11 months to produce 8 billion conversation hearts—all of which would be sold in the 6 weeks leading up to the holiday.
Since Necco’s factories were closed down in July and Spangler didn’t take over until a few months later in September, they weren’t able to keep up with the insane demand for 2019. But there’s some good news for all the Conversation Heart lovers out there: Spangler’s CEO has already announced the hearts will be back on shelves next year in 2020.
CandyStore.com is now reporting that sales of the hearts are down 80 percent from last year, and while you may be able to find a few leftover boxes from 2018, new hearts won’t be hitting shelves at all. If you do find boxes on store shelves—or somewhere online like on Amazon—just keep in mind that these treats have likely been sitting in a warehouse since last year.
But all the lovers out there won’t be left completely empty handed for 2019. Sour Patch Kids made their own conversation hearts this year, which could be a great alternative to the classic we’re doing without.
This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle.