Conversation Hearts Are Officially the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in the U.S., Yet Again (2024)

For the second year in a row after a bit of a slump (more on that later), conversation hearts have taken the top spot on the list of most popular Valentine’s Day candy: Sweets retailer has released its annual research on candy sales in the U.S., and these old-timey, chatty, little chunks of love top the charts in 17 states, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, both Carolinas, and more.

According to the data, 11.4% of total Valentine’s Day sales in 2022 were conversation hearts, making these sweets the most-purchased candy for the fifth time since 2016. The second-place candy, heart-shape boxes of chocolate, were 9.6% of candy sales: After two years of chocolatey dominance in 2019 and 2020, popular opinion has shifted back to those nostalgia-inducing hearts.

You may have noticed these Valentine’s Day favorites were harder to find in 2019 and 2020 after a change in ownership of Sweethearts, one of the top producers of candy hearts, led to conversation heart production challenges. Unfortunately, it took a while for shortages and some problems with printing those sweet nothings on the beloved pastel-colored hearts to be resolved. But, after a slow start in 2021, conversation hearts made their full comeback in 2022 and are more popular than ever.

The National Retail Federation reports that people will spend around $26 billion celebrating love on Valentine’s Day, and it’s estimated that 57% of people plan to purchase delectable treats.

So how long does it take to sell 8 billion (yes, 8 billion!) candy hearts? While production for Valentine’s Day takes 11 months, it takes only six short weeks to sell the majority of candy hearts each year. That’s a massive amount of “be mine” and “love me” sentiments shared!

Of course, conversation hearts aren’t the only confections gifted to spouses, partners, parents, children, classmates, friends, and co-workers during Valentine’s Day. According to the survey, in an unexpected chocolate-flavored upset, Hershey’s kisses replaced M&M’s in Oregon and Pennsylvania for the number one spot, bumping the colorful candy-coated treats out of second place nationally. There are 58 million pounds of chocolate purchased (and likely consumed!) during the week of Valentine’s day, and it’s a good bet that chocoholics in every state will be happy to receive either of these delicious treats.

Other favorite candies across the country include a heart-shape box of chocolates, candy necklaces, cupid corn (candy corn in Valentine’s Day pink and red), and chocolate roses. While you’re shopping for your candy of choice, don’t forget a card for your sweetheart—one billion of them are exchanged on Valentine’s Day.

Among those buying candy, not everyone is planning to give it away. In fact,’s survey found that 47% of people plan to buy themselves a box of candy to enjoy. Why not treat yourself?

Conversation Hearts Are Officially the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in the U.S., Yet Again (2024)


Conversation Hearts Are Officially the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in the U.S., Yet Again? ›

According to the data, 11.4% of total Valentine's Day sales in 2022 were conversation hearts, making these sweets the most-purchased candy for the fifth time since 2016.

What is the most popular Valentine's candy in the US? ›

Some of the most popular picks include heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, milk chocolate roses, M&Ms, Hershey's kisses, and more gourmet chocolates like truffles and bonbons.

Why are conversation hearts so popular? ›

In 1866, he figured out a way to print words on candy with vegetable dye during the cutting process. People loved conversation candies (they weren't available in heart shapes until 1902) and their witty messages, which could stoke the flames of love or warn off flaky suitors.

How many conversation hearts are made each year for Valentine's Day? ›

Necco produced the hearts year-round, but mixing of colors and packaging were ramped up beginning in September to meet the demand for the product at Valentine's Day. Approximately 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of hearts were made per day, which sells out in about six weeks. The company produces 8 billion hearts per year.

What happened to the original conversation "Hearts"? ›

The New England Confectionery Company went out of business in 2018, ending production on NECCO Wafers and the original candy conversation hearts. The recipe for the iconic Valentine's Day treats was purchased by Spangler, the company behind Dum Dum Pops.

What is America's #1 candy? ›

Top-selling chocolates and sweets. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are the No. 1 selling candy brand in the United States, consisting of white fudge, milk, or dark chocolate cups filled with peanut butter. They were invented by H.B. Reese after he founded the H. B. Reese Candy Company in 1923.

Why are conversation hearts hard to find? ›

Last week, I explained why conversation hearts might not be as ubiquitous this Valentine's Day. For those who missed it (and don't feel like clicking the link I so kindly provided), here's a recap: Last year, the Necco candy company went out of business, ending production of their iconic SweetHearts.

What is a fun fact about conversation hearts? ›

The production of conversation hearts actually originates in a pharmacy! Back in 1847, Oliver R. Chase created a medication-cutting machine to increase production speed at his Apothecary. Medicinal and binding ingredients were pressed together and sliced into round discs, forming lozenges.

Can conversation hearts go bad? ›

“And the story goes that they never expire.” The candy's two main ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. If stored properly, the hearts can last a couple of years before they lose color or flavor.

Why do conversation hearts have gelatin? ›

To make the iconic candy hearts, sugar is pulverized and placed in a large mixer. Corn syrup, gelatin, and dextrose are then added for color and flavor.

What did conversation hearts used to say? ›

The original mottos of "Be Mine" and "Kiss Me" still remain popular, but some of the other phrases on conversation hearts have not withstood the test of time, like "Fax Me" or "Dig Me." NECCO even produced special Twilight hearts, with phrases like "Bite Me," and Spanish-language Sweethearts, with phrases like "Te Amo. ...

How many people like conversation hearts? ›

Chicago — Most U.S. adults — 78 percent — enjoy conversation hearts because the messages are fun to read, according to a Valentine's Day survey from Ferrara Candy Co. and its Brach's brand.

Who makes conversation hearts now? ›

Necco's candy brands were sold off to different companies, with their beloved conversation hearts passed on to Spangler in 2019. The new parent company, which also produces Circus Peanuts and Dum Dum lollipops, saved the conversation hearts—but the candies were still out of commission for a while.

What does totes mean on conversation hearts? ›

“Totes” means “totally”.

What is the most popular US Valentines gift? ›

What are the most popular gifts to send for Valentine's Day?
  • Flowers & Chocolates. ...
  • Cook a Romantic Dinner Together. ...
  • Treasure Hunt. ...
  • Couples Activity. ...
  • Make Your Own Card.

What is the #1 selling Halloween candy in the US? ›

1: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. This perennial favorite easily finished first in the candy derby, earning the title of most popular Halloween candy in 18 states, including densely populated ones like California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

What is sold the most on Valentine's Day? ›

Candy: As the saying goes, “Candy for the win!” It comes as no surprise that candy tops the list, with 57% of people purchasing sweets for their loved ones on Valentine's Day. Chocolates, in particular, are a timeless classic and a symbol of romance.

Which US holiday sells the most candy? ›

While Halloween may be the most popular holiday for candy sales, other holidays also have a significant impact on the consumption of sweet treats. Easter, Valentine's Day, and even Independence Day all drive people to purchase candy to celebrate with loved ones or enjoy on their own.


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