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Elizabeth LaBau

Conversation Hearts Change Causes Candy Consternation

By February 5, 2010

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Have you bought any Necco Conversation Hearts (also known as Sweethearts) yet this year? If you have, you may have noticed a difference in this familiar candy--this year Necco changed the formula of their Sweethearts, giving them brighter colors and different, more assertive fruit flavors. Gone are the mellow old favorites like watermelon and banana, and in their place are tangier, more "modern" flavors like green apple and blue raspberry. My personal opinion is that the new flavors are too artificial and aggressively fruity--I didn't enjoy eating more than one at a time, because the flavors clashed and lingered in my mouth. It seems I'm not alone, either--lots of bloggers are voicing their displeasure, and there's even a facebook group for people who hate the new Sweethearts. If you want to learn more about this change and see a side-by-side comparison between the new and old flavors, Cybele at Candy Blog has an in-depth look at the Sweethearts switch.

Now, just because I don't love the Sweethearts by themselves doesn't mean I can't use them in other recipes, right? I played around with them in the kitchen and found that I liked them best when paired with other (artificial) fruit flavors. For instance, they seemed to go well with the raspberry chips I used to make the pink swirls in this Conversation Hearts Bark. I also really liked them in these Conversation Hearts Treats, because the combination of fruity hearts and crunchy cereal made them taste suspiciously like Lucky Charms. So no need to fear, if you've bought some already and don't love eating them out of hand, you can turn them into a tasty candy yet.

Have you tried the new Conversation Hearts? If so, leave a comment and tell me what you thought!
Conversation Hearts Bark Photo ©2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.


February 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm
(1) Liz says:

I was so excited to find Sweethearts in stores right after Christmas: until I tasted them. I bought the 8-pack of individual boxes of Sweethearts, undeterred by the graphics change on the box (and the removal of the cellphane heart-shaped window… I loved that window!), but the taste of the new hearts is bad. The flavor and texture is bad; the have the feel and taste of children’s vitamins. Thanks for the recipes; I’ll see if I can turn the new hearts into something good!

February 10, 2010 at 5:57 pm
(2) Jacob says:

Just tried the new Sweethearts. They’re AWFUL! I miss the original subtle flavors. I won’t be buying Sweethearts again unless they bring back the originals.

February 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm
(3) Cara says:

i HATE the new flavors too! they taste like children’s cough medicine.

February 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm
(4) Californiagirl says:

Yes, I’ve tried the new flavors and they are HORRIBLE! Too fake, too fruity. The new packaging is fine, I do like that they are softer. My first bag is my last bag. The kids hate them too.

February 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm
(5) Peggy says:

I can’t believe anyone thought these flavors were better! They taste like they have been treated by chemicals. I bought a boat load for approx 500 people, after passing out an individual bag to each, we put the rest in a basket, and that is where they stayed for days. I couldn’t give this stuff away! Complained to NECCO, they said they had a panel of people who voted for these flavors! Not buying that! Did you notice the purple ones have the same consistency, but the others are like they were left in the damp! Most of the hearts had no saying on it, but you could look at the side of the heart and know exactly what happened to your saying! Nice Job NECCO!

March 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm
(6) Renae says:

I too tried and hated the new sweethearts, and I tried to feed them to my 6 children of varying ages and got the same response. They are definitely not a hit at our house. I even have some left over. (That is a first. Did I mention that I have 6 kids!) We won’t be buying them again.

January 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm
(7) Rose says:

I do not like the new flavors at ALL!!! Why can’t they offer both?

February 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm
(8) MissRae says:

The first time I purchased these hearts and tasted them, I just knew I had bought the wrong brand of candy. I looked around at different stores and did not find the candy packaging that looked familiar to me. Got online, and now I see! Such a disappointment. This was the main reason I looked forward to V-time day.:( I hope their sales go way down so that can go back to the original flavoring….lol, that’s mean…..I know.

February 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm
(9) Cathy says:

Ok so I’m not the only one …. I bought a packages all excited go home put them in the cupboard excited to have them later on…. An emergency came up and I had to leave my mother came over to babysit and got excited when she seen them stole them to share with my daughter….. When I got home they told me how bad they sucked…. I didn’t believe them so tried them on my own…. And they suck… Sooo thought maybe I got the wrong brand …. Tried a different kind and they all suck…. Really bad and now I know why….. Going to join that facebook group now :(

February 14, 2011 at 11:15 am
(10) Todd says:

I hated this last year, and searched around high and low for them this year.

They were my favorite seasonal candy. I would buy them in bulk, but now, I cannot find them anywhere.

I have resorted to Brach’s which are a bit thicker and the pinks are cinnamon, which strong and I don’t like.

I don’t know who was on this mystery panel, possibly some corporate big wigs from the flavor companies.

February 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(11) tina8525 says:

I hate them, too!!!!! The new flavors are way too strong. I gave them another try this year because I read they had improved the new flavors. The bottom line is the new flavors don’t go together well. They leave a nasty aftertaste. I can taste the fruit flavors they were going for but they are still just too strong. Really after eating a few they are sickening.
The original flavors I could eat an entire bag of those, which is not advisable from a health perspective I guess, but I love them and they are totally addictive and wonderful.

February 14, 2012 at 2:10 am
(12) lulli says:

I HATE the new flavor, i was so excited to stock up on my favorite candy in the world, only to find they are my most unfavorite now. Please necco bring back the old flavors, i use to spend major money on these candies so they would last all year, this year I spent two dollars. I wont be spending any more unless they bring the old flavor and formula back

January 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm
(13) Emily says:

GOOD NEWS!!! Last year I was extremely disappointed to learn about the recipe change. After getting what I thought was the right kind, I discovered that they were extremely tangy and soft. I hoped that I had gotten the wrong brand but after several shopping trips and a little internet research, I was appalled and disappointed by what the NECCO company did to this beloved classic as it has always been my very favorite Valentines Day candy. This year I was walking around walmart and decided to look at the conversation hearts to see if NECCO had responded to the consumer demand for the classic flavors. I noticed a brand I had never heard of called Mayfair that sells conversation hearts in tubes with a big heart shaped stopper at the top. I anxiously checked to see if all the correct colors were there….pink, purple, green, orange, yellow….and WHITE! They gang was all there!! I could hardly wait to get out of the store to try them. Sure enough, they were the classic conversation hearts!!! I don’t know if NECCO sold their recipe or if they’re associated with NECCO, but I’m pleased to inform you that they are BACK! So stock up! :D

January 28, 2013 at 11:08 am
(14) Veronica says:

Thanks you so much. I am disappointed in the new taste as well. I will look for the Mayfair brand in the store too. My daughter who is 8 years old was also disappointed in the new taste.

January 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm
(15) Tonyasooner says:

Please bring back the old necco conversation hearts. The new kind are really awful. I was so disappointed. Thanks for listening.

February 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm
(16) Jamee says:

Yes, I too was bummed that NECCO changed the taste of the candy hearts but tried the Mayfair hearts out of desperation and was thrilled that they tasted like the old NECCO ones! I bought a whole box of them from Wal Mart and am down to my last tube of them(they came in tubes) so now I am trying to find out if I can order any more online. I will let you know if I find any or if anyone has already found them please let us know!

March 11, 2013 at 11:01 am
(17) alice kingsley says:

Yea, they suck pretty bad. I was very sad. I just bought some necco wafers and they taste jist like the old hearts :c

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