Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Formerly manufactured in Massachusetts, this classic Valentine candy may be Ohio-made.

Before the notion of an exchange of rings to affirm love ever struck you, a Sweethearts candy heart imprinted with “Love U” or some other sweet nothing was likely one of the first declarations of affection that you encountered outside of your own family.

On Valentine’s Day, seemingly everywhere you look, you can find these saccharine heart-shaped missives. Indeed, conversation hearts are the most popular Valentine’s Day candy, according to online bulk-candy seller CandyStore.com, with over 19 million pounds sold each year – 80 percent of which are from the Sweethearts brand. The New England Confectionary Co., also known as Necco, reportedly produced eight million Sweethearts annually.

Conversation Hearts Win Valentines Day 2018 CandyStore.comSource: CandyStore.com

But brace yourself… Sadly, there will be no Sweethearts this Valentine’s Day.  

via GIPHY

I know. I know. How else will you express your undying devotion to your beloved without such pithy phrases and pet names as “Text Me,” “Say Yes” or “Cutie Pie” stamped on a piece of candy to sweeten the burgeoning romance?!     

However, there’s no need for further heart palpitations, Sweethearts will make their triumphant return come 2020 thanks to Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company, averting what would otherwise be a permanent Valentine’s Day tragedy. Unfortunately, Spangler has yet to announce whether the candy will be made in the company’s Ohio factory.

“We wish we could have Sweethearts® out for the 2019 Valentine season, but it’s just not possible,” said Spangler Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw, a fourth-generation descendant of the company’s founder. “We are committed to making sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market. Doing it right takes time.”

You may already recognize Spangler’s name thanks to the company’s iconic Made in Ohio Dum Dum, a mainstay of any self-respecting trick-or-treating event.

The family-owned company founded in 1906 employs 550 workers in its Bryan, Ohio, factory and headquarters while also operating a smaller co-manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico, so there’s a strong chance that when Sweethearts return to the market they’ll still be Made in America.

America's most popular Valentine's Day candy, Sweethearts, was made in Revere, Mass., prior to the the closure of Necco in 2018. The production location of Sweethearts in 2020 is yet to be announced. | Photo courtesy of Jill Robidoux

Spangler’s commitment to manufacturing the classic candy represents a happy turn in what otherwise promised to be the end of America’s love affair with Sweethearts. In May of last year, the New England Confectionery Co., also known as Necco, which manufactured the candy, was sold in a bankruptcy auction. Then in July, Necco’s plant in Revere, Mass., shut down, and the company, along with its Sweethearts recipe, yet again passed hands, this time ending up in Spangler’s holdings.

With a history stretching back to 1847, Sweethearts is an enduring symbol of Valentine’s Day, so we’re pleased to see that it will return, but if Spangler wishes to remain true to Sweethearts’ legacy, it should also commit to making the candy in America.   

Learn more about Spangler and its Made in Ohio Dum Dums with the video below.

Made in America Sweethearts are still available for purchase online, but for more Valentine’s Day gift ideas, check out our great Made in USA Valentine’s suggestions. Need more ideas, we’ve got plenty!