Is There Valentine’s Day Without Sweethearts?
Many people have heard of Sweethearts, or conversation hearts, the little candy hearts with cute messages on them. They are similar to candy corn on Halloween, being a relatively cheap sweet that somewhat embodies their respective holiday’s spirit. As is the case with candy corn, sweethearts are often cited as a somewhat controversial candy, with some students hating them, and some claiming that they are a staple of the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
For those who do not know, Sweethearts, or conversation hearts in their generic form, are a type of candy that are popular around Valentine’s Day. They come in multiple colors and always contain a short message on the front like “XOXO” or “You Rock”. They have been sold since 1901 by Necco, and the style continues to be sold to this day in their generic form. As Necco went bankrupt in 2018, a new vendor plans to re-release the candy Sweethearts in 2020, meaning that only off-brand candy hearts will be available this year.
Looking at the nutritional information of conversation hearts, there is little nutritional value. They are almost exclusively made out of sugar, corn syrup and coloring. A packet of around 25 Necco brand Sweetheart candies contain 60 calories, according to the nutrition label.
Some people observe the candy hearts as “chalky”, or resembling the appearance or consistency of chalk.
However, it still seems to be a popular treat that sells approximately 13 million pounds in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, according to the Smithsonian.
A poll of 43 students conducted at South Salem High school shows that 51 percent of students like the candies, while 40 percent of students do not like them. 9% remained unsure.
“I believe so, because they have little words on them that say ‘Sweet’ or ‘I love you’, and that can mean something.” Leilani Rivera ‘21, said when asked if the candies capture the spirit of Valentine’s day.
According to Samuel Ochoa ‘22, there are different candies more deserving of the spotlight around Valentine’s Day.
“There are other things, that are, well, better. For example, chocolate, or roses.” Ochoa said.
A ranking on The Daily Meal on Jan. 30 showed that conversation hearts are the second most popular candy on Valentine’s Day. First place went to the heart shaped boxes of chocolate that are also very iconic on Feb. 14. The opinions of students, however, appear to be split fairly evenly between liking and disliking the candies