You may have heard that Sweethearts conversation hearts are not available this Valentine's Day due to the bankruptcy of Necco, one of America's oldest candy companies. One of my best selling products during Valentine's season is the Conversation Hearts Chocolate Bar and I was using Sweethearts brand hearts. What to do?
Yes, there are year old bags available on the internet but I won't use stale toppings even if the shelf stability of a conversation heart is likely over five years. My only other option was Brach's brand conversation hearts. It turns out that Sweethearts usually accounts for 80% of sales, leaving Brach's in the dust. I wanted to know why? I still had a bag of Sweethearts from last year (kept in case I need them for a photo shoot) so I decided to do a comparison:
1. Shape. Brach's are thinner and wider - a fuller heart if you will.
2. Texture. Brach's have a softer bite and so are easier to chew.
3. Color. The coloring is much bolder on the Sweethearts.
4. Flavor. They come in the same flavors but Brach's had much more of it. This one isn't fair though because the Sweethearts have been sitting around for a year turning to dust.
5. Messages. Sweethearts wins on nostalgia and cuteness (see photo above) but for those who would prefer it, Brach's has more modern messages and acronyms. Examples: Text Me, Ador-bz, TTYL, BFF, LYMY (that's Love You Miss You" for the uninitiated).
6. Font. This is where the Sweethearts really shine. The messages are stamped in. With the exception of a few misfits, they are easier to read. Brach's are printed on the hearts in a font reminiscent of dot matrix printers from the 80s. It doesn't feel like this was done out of nostalgia for the 80s but out of convenience and maybe cost. To make things worse, the message is often off center, faint or partially missing. I mean, come on, isn't getting the message across the whole point of conversation hearts? Here's a photo I took and one from Brach's own website of carefully selected model hearts:
7. Overall Winner. What do you think? The Spangler Candy Company bought the rights to manufacture Sweethearts and says they will return next year. When I have the choice, which one should I use? Leave a comment below.