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For many years, America’s favourite candy to give on Valentine’s Day has been a certain kind of sugar candy. These heart-shaped delights have been around for many years, under several different names. Sweethearts, which are also known as “Conversation hearts” in the U.S., were originally made and sold by Necco.

In 2018, the rights to produce the candy were taken over by the Spangler Candy Company. When Necco were making Sweethearts, they were manufacturing almost 8 billion of the heart-shaped candies each year.

In the UK, there is another version of this popular Valentine’s treat, called “Love Hearts”. Love Hearts are a little thinner and lighter in colour than Sweethearts. It’s easy to tell the two apart, as there are many differences; from the shape of the candy to the words that are written on them.

The American version of these candies had its recipe changed in 2010, where they became deeper in colour, had new flavourings added, and lost their pastel palette. The UK version, made by Swizzels Matlow, don’t seem to have ever changed.

As of this year, America seems to have returned to the pre-2010 version of Sweethearts; which is more like the UK version than the updated Sweethearts recipe was.

But why are they so popular for Valentine’s Day? Well, unlike in the UK, where you can only purchase Love Hearts in their rolled packages, Sweethearts are available in bigger pack sizes. You can also buy custom versions of the candies (though these aren’t made by the company that controls sales of branded Sweethearts). This opens up a tonne of new avenues for anyone looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day through a cute or corny way.

Imagine your beloved opening up their door to a trail of Sweethearts, all detailing things that you love about them. Or a huge basket of goodies packed in the heart-shaped treats. There are plenty of things you can do with Sweethearts, and because they’re inexpensive, they won’t add to much cost to your steadily growing Valentine’s Day bill.

Or, just remember that it doesn’t matter how big or small your Valentine’s Day is. Conversational Hearts can do a lot of the talking for you, if you remember to start the day with love.