Valentine's Day

Brach’s Candy conversation hearts fulfill demand for nostalgic Valentine treat

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Brach's Conversation Hearts. Pic: Brach's
Brach's Conversation Hearts. Pic: Brach's

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The internet has been ablaze with reports of candy heart shortages and digital mobs hoarding past years’ supplies, but one major brand will continue to fill shelves this Valentine’s Day.

Brach’s has been preparing for this moment since Necco abruptly shuttered last July. Spangler Candy Company bought the Sweethearts brand in September but could not develop production in time to fill this year’s holiday orders.

“It’s been an interesting past few weeks because some journalists have reported a ‘shortage’ in conversation hearts this Valentine’s Day, but that’s not true at all,” ​said Peter Goldman, Brach’s US brand manager, in an email to ConfectioneryNews.

Owned by The Ferrara Candy Group, Brach’s steals the number-one spot in non-chocolate candy sales for Valentine’s Day, according to Goldman, holding onto 55% of the market among the top four brands. He added that in pounds sold, Brach’s Conversation Hearts beat the competition 3-to-1.

While consumers recognized Necco Sweethearts for their shareable 1oz boxes, Brach’s sells similar minis as well as 7oz to 18oz bags – even a 33oz jumbo bag fit for a crowd.

“Brach’s size, texture, colors, sayings, flavors and quality provide the perfect sweet solution for those conversation heart lovers who are lamenting over reports that this Valentine’s favorite is not available this year,”​ said Ferrara’s GM of seasonal confections Hans Becher.

Contemporary phrases and flavors add intrigue

For 2019, Brach’s modernized the phrases – imprinted by a laser for more accurate and legible letters, versus stamped as Sweethearts were – with colloquial text-isms: TTYL, BFF, LYMY (short for ‘love you, miss you’), and ILU. In addition to such shorthand, the hearts now feature playful contemporary abbreviations like Adorbz and Yowza.

Original phrases from the brand’s origins in the 1960s remain, from ‘Love You’ to ‘Hug Me’ and the iconic ‘Be Mine.’

“We’re always innovating to address changing customer preferences and trends,” said Goldman, who described the new verbiage as ‘culturally relevant.’

Brach’s also created three new flavor lines that debuted this year: Tropical Fruit, Very Berry and Sweet and Sour, available in 7oz and 14oz packages. Its core range consists of lemon, banana, cherry, grape, orange and wintergreen.

“These flavor ideas originated from consumer research, which shows that tropical, berry and sour are some of our fastest growing flavor profiles company-wide across multiple product forms,”​ added Goldman.

Innovation a theme for Brach's across the board

Candy depends heavily on seasonality, and Brach’s lists Valentine’s Day as its third biggest time of year; Halloween and its quintessential candy corn leads, followed by Christmas and candy canes.

“Consumers love Brach’s because it’s an iconic brand that they grew up with and we continue to sell classic products,” ​said Goldman.

Once over the Valentine’s Day bump, the company will focus on unveiling 15 new products in 2019, including a reformulated line of chocolates with new packaging that will hit shelves later this month. Double Dipped Hazelnuts will be Brach’s “first chocolate innovation in a few years,”​ Goldman said, alongside Double Dipped Peanuts, Almond Supremes, Bridge Mix, Chocolate Covered Raisins and Peanut Clusters.

Next up: Purple Rain Jelly Beans, an assortment of berry flavors just in time for Easter.

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1 comment


Posted by Alison,

Dont say it's a absolutely not true when it comes to the candy heart shortage! There absolutely is! The CEO of Brachs I'll bet you money there is. I live in Phoenix and for almost 2 weeks I have not seen one bag on conversation heart. Mind you its only 2 days after VDay. I've gone go walmarts and Walgreens and grocery stores, countless locations from Scottsdale to far west valley and not a single bag anywhere.not even 1. Tell me that's not a shortage. And those dumb little boxes of hearts...there have been those available but even those vanished 4 or 5 days ago. Btw Brachs, nobody likes the little boxes of hearts...they are hard like rocks. Not good at all.only in the bags do they stay soft. Conversation hearts are not good at all unless they're soft. So if that's not a shortage than what is? Super disappointed with the lack of preparation for this year. How does that happen anyway..yoh knew it was coming since forever so ??? Hopefully next year will not be a repeat..hint hint... you have 363 days! Dont let it sneak up on you

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