Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Author: Emma Gampper
In 1886 the New England Confectionery Company (Necco) debuted their Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. Now, the 153 year streak is coming to a temporary halt as the SweetHearts brand was sold to Spangler Candy Company back in July of 2018. The acquisition proved to be the Conversation Hearts’ doom, because Spangler no longer has the time required to produce enough hearts to be sold. For reference, it took Necco roughly 11 months to produce the eight billion candy hearts that were sold annually.
Despite the lack of “official” Conversation Hearts in stores this year, many companies have produced their own twist on the iconic candy. So this Valentine’s season, trade in the chalky and awkwardly phrased Conversation Hearts for one of these alternatives:
Brach’s Conversation Hearts (10/10)
Essentially the same as the originals, Brach’s Conversation Hearts are easily the best “dupe” for Sweethearts. There’s nothing else to really say about them: it’s the Sweethearts you know and love just with slightly different branding and oh-so-subtly-different flavor profiles–they even have their own quirky phrases. Eating these will remind you of those days in elementary school when the whole class would exchange Valentines.
In terms of being a good replacement for Sweethearts, I’d give them a 10/10 but nothing can replicate the feeling of opening the tiny box of conversation hearts–the bag just doesn’t have the same effect.
Sour Patch Kids Conversation Hearts (4/10)
I was rather eager to try these because I adore Sour Patch kids, but something was off about these. The candy was a little too sour for my liking, and I expected them to be gummy, like normal Sour Patch Kids–after all, it’s part of their appeal. Instead all I got were these hard sour hearts of sadness.
These didn’t put me in the Valentine's Day mood. Instead I just felt rather sad and alone as I attempted to make it through about 10 of these little guys. The only reason I ate that many was because I was hoping they’d get better with time (they didn’t). Overall these felt like a sad wannabe Sweethearts, trying to be like the original, but falling flat in every regard.
Sweet Tarts Candy Hearts (11/10)
I love these guys. They’re what the Sour Patch Conversation Hearts were trying and failing to be. They’re the perfect combination of sour and sweet, which doesn’t make them a miserable experience to eat.
In fact, the Sweet Tarts are actually better than the original Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. While those are rather bland and hard on the teeth, these are flavorful and won’t cause you to chip a tooth. I ate about 40 of these in one sitting. They’re addictive but in the best way possible. These are the only ones I’ve tried that I’m going to buy again from CVS when all their Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale.
There you have it, my complete review of all of the potential alternatives to Sweethearts Conversation Hearts this Valentine’s Day season. If none of these really spoke to you, don’t worry, as the originals are expected to be back on shelves for Feb.14, 2020.