Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts) 2010

Sweethearts - 2010 FlavorsAs we’re in the middle of Candy Season one of my favorite things to do after a holiday is to see what’s on sale from the previous holiday and glance at the early merchandise on the shelves for the next one. The Epiphany usually marks the emergence of Valentine’s Day candy. I scour the aisles looking for something new. So when I saw the new packaging for Necco Sweethearts I thought they’d expanded their line. They have been offering an all-chocolate version, Spanish language version and lately a Tart version. I thought this new fruity array was an addition.

I bought them but didn’t open them, just tossing them on my pile for review. Then the comments started trickling in from readers, who were finding my old review and weighing in on the changes. It appears that it’s a complete replacement for the classic Necco Sweethearts (see my review of them in 2008).

Necco Sweethearts

There are so many things wrong. Let me start on the front of the package.

The Official Candy of Love

Does Love have a governing board that can decide these things, like the Olympic Committee? No, no it does not. Love, Freedom, Justice and Anger ... these concepts and emotions are boundless and cannot have anything official about them. Invoking any sort of official in association with them is false advertising. Love does not do endorsements. (Unless Necco would like to step forward and show me their contracts with Love.)

New Package Design

I actually like it. It’s bold but still soft and, yeah, a bit feminine and childish. At first I though the colors of the hearts were a little too vivid, but after seeing the actual candies inside, I’m setting that aside. The choice of Love Bug as the statement on the featured heart is a bit odd.

Necco Sweethearts - AngelThe Price

It’s marked in a black stamp there in the upper right corner, 99 cents and the package holds 7 ounces. Can’t really beat that, especially when the little boxes are usually selling for 50 cents for one ounce (though sometimes on for as little as 20 cents each). Not terribly attractive but kind of makes me nostalgic for the time before bar codes.

Lack of Branding

The front of the package does not bear the name of the maker. The name Necco isn’t actually on the package anywhere ... just New England Confectionery Company under the nutrition facts panel (followed by the web address of www.necco.com). The previous years’ packaging does have Necco and its logo featured prominently both on the front and the back of the packages.

Necco Sweethearts - I Heart YouAn Undone Website

It’s January 13, so a little more than a month before Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s candy has been in stores for at least a week. On the back of the package is says for baking, gifting, craft ideas and more visit mysweethearts.com. You know what’s on that page as I write this? It’s a placeholder about some sort of iPhone app. No promised recipes or craft ideas ... not even any mention that would be what I expect to find it there. (See screengrab.)

The New Flavors - Show You Care ... 6 Delicious Ways to Share!

Strawberry, Grape, Green Apple, Lemon, Orange and Blue Raspberry.

I’m not going to break the flavors down one by one. What was nice about Necco Sweethearts was the subtle sweet flavors, nothing exciting, they were simply pleasant.

The new flavors are a blend of sweet and tart. The texture is smoother than the usual compressed dextrose candy like SweeTarts, because this is made with mostly sugar and corn syrup instead of dextrose (which is just a powder form of glucose and has a different mouthfeel).

Necco Sweethearts - Real HeartThe citrus flavors are completely artificial with a tangy note that is wholly un-citrus and more like a chemical. The pink ones taste like a combination of lipstick and the old wintergreen ones, which is just a disgusting mix. Grape has as much clove flavor in it as food coloring though the mixture is nearly palatable.

These do not show I care ... these show that I have no regard for my lover or friend’s expectations of what a heart shaped candy should taste like.

It’s as if Necco took all the artificial colors that they aren’t using for their new All Natural Necco Wafers and pouring it all into these improved Necco Sweethearts. Simply put, they’re a mess. (Now, I would’ve been thrilled if the conversation hearts were also going to be all natural, what an awesome innovation that would have been.)

Necco Sweethearts - Meet MeThey Stink

Once I opened the bag I was in trouble. The smell is a blend of Love’s Baby Soft and strawberry candles. And if I were just sniffing the bag, well,  yeah, I have to expect that. But this thing made my car smell, they make my office smell. When I’m done with this review they’re going in the trash someplace where I am not.

Better Printing

The one thing they have improved upon was one of my beefs with them previously. They production quality is better. The pieces are well formed and most especially the printing is clear. Sure about a quarter of them aren’t printed square in the center, but they’re still readable.

The sayings are cute. They’re using the heart symbol quite a bit. Hey Baby, Smile, Sweet Love,  Dream Big, You Rock, Puppy Love, Meet Me, Love Me, Hug Me, Kiss Me, For Ever, Ask Me, even Marry Me

I’m not saying they shouldn’t make these, someone probably likes them, but they should be an additional product in the line, not a replacement for the iconic original.

UPDATE 1/27/2010: It’s been a few weeks and it seems that the response posted here has been overwhelmingly negative about the flavor change (few have mentioned the new texture).

Necco SweetheartsSo I talked to Jackie Hague, the Vice President of Marketing for Necco who navigated this new change (along with the All Natural Necco Wafers, which I fully support). We had a great talk about candy in general (she worked for Mars for 20 years and was responsible for many of the limited edition M&Ms that so many of us have loved over the years).

First, you can still get the classic Necco Sweethearts. The change over was made mid-way through the production schedule. So the first part of the production run was the classic flavors (Banana, Wintergreen, Orange, Cherry, Grape) and then they switched over the ingredients and equipment for the new formula. They are sold at very few stores, basically the discounters: Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar , 99 Cent Only, Freds , Odd Lots, Wakefern and Sav A Lot. (The image shown here is the classic flavors on the left that I found at Dollar Tree and the ones on the right are the new flavors/colors - here’s what the package looks like.)

Second, Ms. Hague said that the changes were made based on consumer feedback. The most common requests from folks who wrote or called were for a softer texture and for more intense & modern flavors. Banana was not well liked, apparently yellow is not ordinarily expected to be banana. The texture was introduced first with the Twilight version of Sweethearts (though future versions won’t have Passion Fruit) as well as the tangier, more vibrant flavors.

So the takeaway from this would be, if you don’t like the new flavors, make sure that Necco knows that. Return the product, write to them or call. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot in return (a canned response) but I do think that they log the feedback - it’s in their best interest. (Ms. Hague also said that they’ve assigned more people to help out with the feedback process, so perhaps the responses will be more appropriate instead of a copy/paste FAQ.) Ms. Hague understood my frustration with not just the lack of information but the contrary information provided by the website and candy packages and it’s apparent they’re working on that.

The Necco website’s Sweethearts product page used to say this, “One thing Sweetheart lovers can count on each year is the candy’s simple, familiar formula. The basic recipe has never been changed. Both Sweethearts and the familiar NECCO Wafers use the same batter—sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring.” However, they’ve finally updated their websites to reflect this new change and have omitted that statement that they honor the time-tested flavors ... because they were tested by time and after about a hundred years, even as the #1 Valentines candy selling 8 billion hearts a year, they lost. Necco thinks that this new version will appeal to more people, which is possible, but it’s clear it’s not the same people who have been buying them.

Update 2/10/2013: Both versions of Necco’s Conversation Hearts are on store shelves this year. By far the most ubiquitous are the newer fruity version, but I did find the almost-classic “Conversation Hearts” at Walgreen’s. The old ones are called Conversation Hearts, not Sweethearts. I’ve only seen them in the little boxes, only as singles (not in the shrinkwrapped five packs and no bags).

Necco Conversation Hearts & Necco Sweethearts

The classic version has white (cinnamon), green (lime), yellow (banana), pink (cherry), purple (grape) and orange (orange). So they’ve eliminated clove and wintergreen. It’s too bad. The texture has returned to the crunchier version. The colors are more vibrant and the printing just as inconsistent.

Necco Conversation Hearts & Necco Sweethearts

Related Candies

  1. All Natural Chocolate Necco Wafers
  2. Twilight Sweethearts: Forbidden Fruits
  3. Jelly Belly for Valentine’s Day
  4. See’s Cinnamon (Hearts & Lollypops)
  5. Necco Conversation Hearts (Sweethearts)
  6. SweeTart Hearts
  7. Necco Smoothies
Name: Sweethearts
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Necco
Place Purchased: CVS (3rd & LaBrea)
Price: $.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 113
Categories: Chalk, United States, Necco, Valentine's Day

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:22 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Oh no!
    I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day but I always loved getting one of the little boxes of Sweethearts. I had my favorite flavors too, white and yellow if I remember correctly. I’ll have to be careful when picking up a box to see if it’s the new ones. :(

    Comment by Heather on 1/13/10 at 9:12 am #
  2. Love’s Baby Soft! The guaranteed boy bait in 7th grade! Would I be a big dork for admitting that I still kinda like it?!

    Comment by Nani on 1/13/10 at 9:45 am #
  3. OMG I just sent basically the same complaint to the company.  I am a school teacher who uses the hearts for math problems. I also loved the candy so much I would buy bags to last the whole year and relish them as they are my all time favorite. 

    Not this year.  Your blog was exactly what I told the company.  Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!

    Comment by Dee on 1/13/10 at 10:37 am #
  4. I was addicted to the old conversation hearts in season, but absolutely hate the new ones.  I guess it will help me keep some weight off as I really used to eat a lot of them!

    Comment by disappointed on 1/13/10 at 10:38 am #
  5. Years ago when I was fat, I used to eat conversation hearts by the bagful around Valentine’s Day. After years of successfully fighting off urges to eat them again, I am thrilled to see Necco makes it easier for me to say no.  The new flavors sound awful.

    Comment by Susan on 1/13/10 at 10:38 am #
  6. Love the colours…though if they stink that bad…maybe not.

    Comment by Tasty Japan on 1/13/10 at 11:21 am #
  7. That blue looks toxic. Scaryy.

    Comment by Emily on 1/13/10 at 4:05 pm #
  8. I just picked up some of these, planning on doing a TBB post on them soon. I was horrified with them, so was Natalie.

    Why mess with a classic? Why?

    This is just deeply wrong on every level.

    Comment by Richard @ The Bewildered Brit on 1/13/10 at 4:23 pm #
  9. NOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! ;-;  What will I do without the classic yellow Necco heart? It was…banana? Or is that just my brain hoping it wasn’t lemon XD I’m pleased they’re going for a softer mouthfeel (sometimes those hearts felt like they were gonna break me in half o_o) but…jeez.  Really?

    Comment by Tindy on 1/13/10 at 9:08 pm #
  10. That makes me so sad.  Since I live rather close to the factory maybe I should get a bunch of my cohorts together and go protest.  I loved my white hearts.  That said since I live so close I can easily get Necco wafers.  I guess I won’t be eating hearts this year..

    Comment by Neefer on 1/14/10 at 2:28 am #
  11. I’ve always wanted to try this for Valentine’s Day - http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/messageheartsagain

    Comment by Ellen on 1/14/10 at 3:26 am #
  12. I look forward to Sweethearts each year and recently picked up a bag not knowing they had updated the flavors.  I have one word for them…AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL!  Ok, that’s 3 words, but it warrants it.  Why are they messing with a classic candy.  Didn’t they learn anything from Coca Cola?  You don’t mess with a classic.  Maybe they’ll bring back Classic Sweethearts.  I’m writing to them to voice my outrage.

    Comment by Sweetheart-lover-no-more on 1/14/10 at 3:51 am #
  13. Oh, yuck! They don’t even have the white ones anymore, which used to be my favorite ones. I am so disappointed and won’t be buying any this year after reading this review. I didn’t even know they had “updated” this candy.

    Comment by Rene S. on 1/14/10 at 5:00 am #
  14. I’m seriously disappointed. The new flavors are so gross. They’ve ruined Valentines Day. BLEH! The blue one’s taste so awful and where are the white ones? NOWHERE! I feel sorry for whoever gets these for Valentines Day, seems like something you should give to someone who you do not like.

    Comment by Wen on 1/14/10 at 9:27 am #
  15. First Post- Long time reader.

    I got an 8-box pack a little over a week ago-looking forward to my annual Conversation Heart treat.  I couldn’t get past the texture or the taste.  I threw out 7.89 boxes.  I wrote Necco an email-outlining what was wrong-mainly that these are inedible.  This is what I received back today:

    “Dear Mr. G:

    Thank you for writing to Necco,  I wanted to personally thank you for all of your input on our new Sweethearts.  They are a great US made product and I am glad to hear you are a longtime fan. Over the years, our number one product requests have been around producing a more flavorful and softer product. Sweethearts have been America?s favorite Valentine?s Day candy for over 145 years now and we needed to ensure that Sweethearts continue to delight people of all ages.

    It?s never easy to change something that hasn?t been changed for a very long time and we appreciate your support as we continue to come up with new flavors and ways to say I Love You. Here?s more information about all of our exciting changes:

    Our new softer Original Flavors now include: Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon, Grape and Orange. The color of the hearts were changed to match the flavors so people could tell what flavor they were eating before they even tried them. The new expressions on the Sweethearts were chosen by over 10,000 Americans at mysweethearts.com back in the summer. The complete list of the top new sayings includes both contemporary expressions like Tweet? Me and Text Me and beloved classics like ?Love Me? and ?Sweet Pea.? The packaging was changed to make the product easier to find at shelf. And our little 1oz boxes are now slightly smaller with no window, to be more sustainable and easier to handle for tiny kid hands. The back of our 1oz boxes was also changed so that kids could write in their To/From names in pencil.

    If you are looking for something to share with the little girls in your life be sure to check out our new Sweethearts Dazzled Tarts with flavors including: Pink Lemonade, Wild Berry Grape, Sour Apple, Watermelon, Extreme Tangerine and Blue Raspberry. These new Sweethearts are dazzled and have crowns and shoes on them!

    So, thank you for your feedback and please stick with us. Let us know what you think of our other Sweetheart products. Also, check our mysweethearts.com for free recipe ideas and craft projects.

    Thank you again for writing.


    Sincerely,
     
     
    TD
    Customer Correspondent”

    Comment by EG on 1/14/10 at 9:40 am #
  16. Cybele's avatar

    EG - thanks for posting that. So the internet is to blame ... not Necco? (And I noticed that they have changed their mysweethearts.com website from my screengrab, but it STILL doesn’t have recipes & craft ideas!)

    Comment by Cybele on 1/14/10 at 10:03 am #
  17. My complaint response from Necco also contained the following:

    “These stores still have the old flavors.

    Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar , 99 Cent Only, Freds , Odd Lots, Wakefern,  Sav A Lot.”

    And sure enough, Dollar General hooked me up!

    Comment by GoodNews on 1/14/10 at 10:05 am #
  18. Thank you for that list GoodNews! I went down to my local Dollar Tree and bought an embarrassing number of packages…Now does anyone know the shelf life of a package of sweethearts?
    I commented on Cybele’s older Necco blog several days ago and I am amazed at how many people have similar opinions on the flavor change…

    Comment by David S on 1/14/10 at 12:43 pm #
  19. I bought my first—and probably last—bag of the new flavors today.  They’re edible, but I miss the old flavors and textures.  Necco made a big mistake with this change!  I’m headed to the dollar store to try to find some of the old ones.

    Comment by Disappointed on 1/14/10 at 12:43 pm #
  20. Bummer!  I sent my hubby to the store for some today and he came home with these.  When I saw that they were indeed by Necco and not some off brand he picked up I was shocked!  I actually googled it to find out if the regular ones were still around… I did find your awesome blog though so that’s one good thing!  Thanks for the low down!

    Comment by tessa on 1/14/10 at 2:42 pm #
  21. So glad I came across your website, thought my palette was off after eating a pizza (I bought these on the way to get a pizza!) - they are HORRIBLE!!  I am so disappointed…

    Comment by Jenny on 1/15/10 at 3:31 pm #
  22. The new flavors are terrible.  Will be headed to the dollor store in the morning.

    Comment by Chuck on 1/15/10 at 3:48 pm #
  23. I am so sad.  I went to the store so excited to purchase my favorite candy of all time and was discusted by the new flavors.  I don’t know why they have to try to change things.  This ruined my whole valentines day season.

    Comment by Tiffany Smith on 1/16/10 at 6:41 am #
  24. I didn’t buy these two days ago at a local market because I thought that the store had just purchased a different product.  A friend did buy them and brought them over, they just plain suck!!  He then sent me the link to your blog and I am angry and heartbroken!!  How could they just change something that for so many years has made, well, everyone I know so happy!?!  (It’s the little things) Going to complain to Necco now…

    Comment by Lynn Mendre on 1/16/10 at 7:06 am #
  25. Thanks for the tip regarding the dollar stores!

    I’m such a big fan of the original flavors that I’ve started a Facebook page called “Ick! Yuck! Blech! Bring back the original NECCO Sweethearts flavors!”

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=295742408367

    Comment by Chad on 1/16/10 at 10:58 am #
  26. Just went to Dollar General and bought 20 dollars worth in boxes and bags.
    The lady at the counter thought I was nuts, but thats ok with me, the new ones are terrible, and I look forward to these candies all year.

    Comment by Georgia on 1/16/10 at 11:00 am #
  27. Just confirmed that both Dollar Tree and Dollar General had the bags and little boxes.  What is odd, some of the bags are 9 OZ and others are 8 OZ.  I had never noticed that before.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=295742408367

    Comment by Chad on 1/16/10 at 12:15 pm #
  28. Count me in for the protest rally.  These things are horrible.  Hopefully the cases of unsold bags after valentines day will send a strong message.  Brachs are fortunately still available at some stores.

    Comment by Duncan on 1/16/10 at 1:29 pm #
  29. When I bought these this morning, I had to look hard to make sure that I was buying a bag Necco hearts and not Brach’s.  Necco’s are hands-down superior to Brach’s.  Then when I started to eat them, I thought the blue raspberry must have contaminated the whole bag because they were ALL AWFUL… then discovered they had changed every flavor.  It’s just wrong on every level.  Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be kicked to the curb.  I also e-mailed my disatisfaction to Necco and I hope everyone will do the same. Bring back the original!  Thanks for the Dollar Tree/General tip!

    Comment by Janelle on 1/16/10 at 1:57 pm #
  30. Gross. Thanks for the heads up. Sweethearts are one of the few Valentines we usually pick up before the sales. Not this year.

    Comment by roachc420 on 1/16/10 at 7:48 pm #
  31. I tried these. They are SO nasty. I miss green and white, for starters, and the remaining flavors have this awful fruity aftertaste that makes me want to spit. They are really really bad. I mean, disgusting bad. I looked forward to Valentines day every year to stock up on these. Sadly, no more.

    Comment by Heidi on 1/17/10 at 8:10 am #
  32. totally disgusting.  now the only ones i will eat are pink and purple.  can’t believe they changed the yellow. wish i knew ahead of time before i bought extra bags. not happy.

    Comment by Margaret on 1/17/10 at 10:06 am #
  33. I too complained to the company about the changes.  Why change something that is enjoyed by soo many?!  I’m glad I’m not the only one who is outrageously disappointed.  Maybe they will listen to their consumers and go back to the original ones.

    Comment by Christine on 1/17/10 at 12:15 pm #
  34. OMG!! I was looking so forward to the old fashion hearts. I paid 75 cents for 2 boxes where I work…after i opened and tasted the first box I wanted to return the other box and get my 36 cents back!! They were the worst thing I have ever tasted, I actually spit them out! Im so disappointed! I warned all my coworkers and told them to taste test my unopen box before buying them.(since we usually buy them all before the customers get to them) They were as grossed out as I was!! What a shame!:(

    Comment by Nell on 1/17/10 at 1:27 pm #
  35. Not a helpful comment whatsoever, but I’m looking at the “YOU ROCK” heart, particularly how certain areas of the imprinting of the “R” and “O” happen to be a little light, and…considering the interesting message available if you deface the “R” and “O” in the right places, do they have an ulterior motive here?  That’s a little too modern for my candy, I think.

    All right, maybe I am seeing things.

    Comment by indigozeal on 1/17/10 at 2:03 pm #
  36. I have always looked forward to my sweethearts every year.  I bought the 8 pack of boxes and BOY WAS I DISAPPOINTED!!!  The new flavors are disgusting!!  I can’t believe they changed them.  They could have added another line of “fruit” flavored ones.  How can you mess with a classic?  Guess I will be hitting the Dollar Tree to get my old favorites this year!

    Comment by FrogLvr on 1/17/10 at 3:55 pm #
  37. I bought boxes of the candy hearts this year thinking they just changed the packaging. I was soo disappointed to find they tasted completely different. I will be emailing the company and complaining about this. necco candy hearts are my favorite candy.

    Comment by charitie on 1/17/10 at 6:13 pm #
  38. Just stumbled onto this blog after doing a search on ‘Sweethearts changed’.

    I bought a bag yesterday at Rite Aid for .89.  Awful.  Barf.  Chemical taste galore.  Yuck.

    I fired off an e-mail to Necco. 

    Looks like I’ll try to hit up the Dollar General, too.  I like the banana ones…those are my favorite.  :( 

    Good blog.  smile

    Comment by Kelly on 1/18/10 at 2:19 am #
  39. Believe it or not, I saw Valentine candy on the shelves starting **December 18**. Yes, I was so surprised I actually remembered the day!

    Comment by Alix on 1/18/10 at 5:32 am #
  40. Wish I would have read this review BEFORE I tried these!
    They were horrible!!!!

    Comment by Sallie on 1/18/10 at 11:12 am #
  41. So glad I am not the only one who is upset with this change!  I thought I was loosing it and have been checking everywhere for my candy hearts!  I am going to have to go check those stores!

    Comment by Kristen on 1/18/10 at 12:47 pm #
  42. I found you after buying my first box of the year. I was appalled.  I put “necco sweethearts awful” into a google search, & this popped up.  I also sent Necco an email.  Of course, the kids probably like these new flavors better, and they’re likely the larger consumer group.

    Comment by Marie on 1/18/10 at 1:11 pm #
  43. I also couldn’t wait for my usual Necco Sweetheart brand of candy to hit the shelves right after Xmas.  Yes, I finally found some at CVS and bought 5 bags…as soon as I opened them up I was so upset that they changed the flavors etc of the candy.  YUCK!  I hate them now!  Thank goodness I found the original kind at Dollar Tree. I also bought several bags and probably will return soon for a few more for my Valentine Candy fix.  If Necco doesn’t change it back then I will no longer buy these candies and probably will save myself a few extra pounds during Valentine season!

    Comment by Kim on 1/18/10 at 5:12 pm #
  44. Cybele's avatar

    I just saw this article in Brandweek about the visionary who came up with the new Sweethearts for Necco. Read about the Candy VPM Jackie Hague.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/18/10 at 6:45 pm #
  45. Thanks for that link Cybele. It was interesting to read the logic behind this questionable business decision. Who knows…if I was a teen tween or young mother maybe these candies would taste like heaven…but i’m not..and they don’t.

    Comment by David S on 1/18/10 at 8:49 pm #
  46. These are the WORST!  Can’t believe how bad they are and am on the lookout now for a Dollar Store to see what I can find.  Emailed NECCO yesterday about my disappoinment in these too.

    Comment by Beth on 1/19/10 at 5:31 am #
  47. I am so glad to have found this site.  My husband and I have been looking all over for the original NECCO conversation hearts.  I am extremely disappointed that they changed the flavors.  I bought three bags when I first saw them and didn’t realize until we got home they were new flavors.  They are HORRIBLE.  The blue ones taste like medicine and the smell is terrible.  I bought the Brachs hearts, but they just aren’t the same.  Hopefully NECCO will do with these what Coke did with the NEW COKE!!!

    Comment by Kathy W on 1/19/10 at 8:19 am #
  48. Awful… Disappointing… WHY??? I guess I’ll hit Dollar Tree, but even those will be bittersweet as it will be only a one-year reprieve before our beloved candies rest in piece.  I hope someone loses their job for this and the GOOD flavors are back in 2011!

    Comment by Vince D on 1/19/10 at 8:45 am #
  49. I cant believe this! These are the only candies I ever recieved for valentines day. I had been looking forward to getting some as soon as they were stocked in my local store. I opened up a box, threw some in and and gagged at the taste—no where on my little box did it say anything about changing the flavors! “Maybe I got the tarts by mistake?” I thought…but no. My favorite childhood candy has been ruined!

    Comment by Taylor on 1/19/10 at 10:15 am #
  50. what were they thinking !!!!. I when i was station in Guam my mother would send me bags of these. They were soooo good but now these new styles just plain suck. Whose bright ideas brought this to the table they should be fired. Just go’s to show nothing can be left alone with modern brains thinking they can change the good stuff of years ago with modern garbage.

    Comment by josh c on 1/19/10 at 1:54 pm #
  51. I too bought 4 bags at Walgreens- I am a addict to these little candies and look forward to this time of year.  .....I could have cried…they were so foul and I wrote to Necco to tell them so. I returned the unopened bags to Walgreens and told them they were unpalatable too.  Interesting, last year I saw some Necco easter egg shaped ones and bought them thinking they were the same as the old hearts (wishful thinking)- and they were just as horrible.  I actually knew someone at the Necco factory in WI (since been closed down).  She was going to pass my message on…guess they don’t care.  My 8 yr old and 11 yr won’t eat them either…not sure who they tested these on and thought… eureka!

    Comment by Susan on 1/19/10 at 2:16 pm #
  52. Valentine’s Hearts are my favorite candy every year. I always buy bags and boxes of them. I’m at a loss for words to explain how dissapointed I am this year. The new ones are just terrible. Why mess with a classic? Bad move.

    Comment by Rob on 1/19/10 at 2:59 pm #
  53. Glad to see others feel the same way I do.  This is about as depressing as the day General Mills made Trix “fruitier”!

    Comment by Brady on 1/19/10 at 3:55 pm #
  54. I bought two 8 packs for 4 dollors thinking..yeah i can get a start on my valentine day and have a little treat… THINK NOT… AWFUL..I think what was worse, was that the first one I tried was the blue raspberry…how revolting…and then putting more than one flavor at a time by accident made a taste of chemicals and medicine…so disappointed I’m returning the one 8 pack I have yet to open. And I was going to bring these into work to surprise my co-workers…hw embarassing would that have been?..

    Comment by Steph on 1/19/10 at 4:56 pm #
  55. I was so excited to finally see the boxes of my favorite candy of the year.  Bought some and took the first box on a hike with the dog (nourishment for long walk). I first thought, why is there a blue heart in here.  Then I tasted it, BBBLLLLEEECCHHH.  Then I looked for my beloved white heart and couldn’t find one. Then I tasted others.  I couldn’t even finish the box.  Gave them to my husband who realized that they must be bad if I was giving him some of my candy hearts.  What have they done!!!!  It’s not even that they are different, it’s that they are so nasty tasting.

    Comment by Carmen on 1/20/10 at 2:48 am #
  56. I bought a small box and they it was a knock-off. I searched and searched and finally concluded that the recipe had been reworked. I have three words for you. Horrible, Horrible, Horrible! Did i mention horrible? I loved the yellow, pink, and purple ones. Now I hate them all. I’m off to Dollar genral at lunch time and hopefully buy up some of the original recipe ones.

    Comment by Stuart on 1/20/10 at 3:30 am #
  57. They will likely be shocked when their annual sales of these drop by 60 to 70%.  I think most of us do buy an average 4 to 5 bags a year.  after throwing out the bag when tasting the first 5 or 6 pieces, I will not buy again till the original is back.  I will be making trip to dollar tree today to get the original. 

    All the stores carrying the new flavor still have hundreds of bags sitting there.  no one seems to be buying any more than the first bag, and if they are like me and you, they will let the bags sit there.

    When Necco sees record sales from the Dollar stores and huge surplus sitting on the other store shelves they hopefully will make the right decisions

    Comment by Jason on 1/20/10 at 3:46 am #
  58. I’m was very disappointed when i went to get my hearts this year!!! it’s my favorite candy at valentines!!!! The taste is horrible!!!! I can’t stand the “tropical” taste. They don’t taste the same at all!!! I wish they would of kept the old ones and maybe made these a separate kind!!! The new one are disgusting!!! Please change back!!!!

    Comment by Holly Hansard on 1/20/10 at 5:01 am #
  59. I read the article regarding Necco’s VPM Jackie Hague and I have to say I am shocked to see they let someone who has only been with the company since 2008 make the decision to change the conversation hearts so drastically!  It appears to me their largest purchasing consumers are NOT the children, tweens, teens and young parents.  If the parents don’t like it, they’re not going to buy it. They should have kept it the same. As stated by Vivian(Julia Roberts) in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”

    Comment by christine on 1/20/10 at 6:27 am #
  60. I agree Necco really messed up this time!  These conversation hearts SUCK with a capital S!  Why mess with a classic candy?  I love - well take that back - used to love to eat these things, I will never put their conversation hearts in my mouth again!! 

    to all you fans out there of the traditional candy, I will share that I bought a bag at Target and they were awesome - but it was not Necco’s product it was the Brach brand.  They are soft and smooth to eat, not crackly and hard as rocks.  The flavors are what we fans of this candy have always loved.  And the messages are traditional and nice, kind of nostalgic and ‘feel good’ type candy!  Snatch those up before their gone for the season!  Target will probably be out of this Brach brand candy before long after people taste the CRAP that Necco put out this year!!

    Comment by candywoman on 1/20/10 at 6:33 am #
  61. Got that blasted form letter, too:

    Yada Yada Yada
    Thank you again for writing.
    Sincerely,
    Theresa Denis
    Customer Correspondent

    Here is my response:

    Gee, thanks for the form letter, for ignoring my comment, for using this opportunity to FURTHER MARKET YOUR COMPANY and to simply and smugly justify what you’ve done.

    Well, the number one complaint you’ll get NOW will be that people will want you to make your original candy! Here’s what’s wrong with the new stuff:

    1) THE COLORS ARE ALARMING. We all know that candy uses artificial flavors and colors and cheap sugars (though we wish they wouldn’t). However, making these brighter makes them more toxic.

    2) THE FLAVORS SUCK. These are not merely more intense. They are HORRID.

    3) THEY EVEN SMELL BAD! They have an awful perfume-like scent that made me wonder if I’d spilled laundry detergent on them by accident. Don’t know how you managed that one.

    4) THE PACKAGING IS DECEPTIVE. You will make a lot of money from people like me who assumed just the packaging changed and ended up THROWING THE CANDY AWAY after tasting it. If I’d known you had punched up all the chemicals, I would never have wasted a dollar on these.

    5) YOUR COMPANY NAME IS MISSING. If this is some type of awful advice from a branding company, you have been overcharged (I’m sure) and snowed. No one ever had a problem with your previous product or brand - it sold like madness!

    6) YOU HAVE RUINED YOUR REPUTATION. Like New Coke - a colossal failure - this will go down as a really bad move. Parents will be angry that you are feeding their kids even MORE chemicals and cheaper ingredients. Those who remember your product fondly will be angered by your dismissive attitude in switching formulas AND ignoring current feedback. New customers will recoil at the awful flavor, color, texture, scent and aftertaste of these toxic little chemical heart attacks.

    Take a look at what the most prominent online candy reviewer had to say - it’s not good:

    (I included the candyblog URL for the above article here.)

    So, to sum up. You really should have tested these as a new product, rather than doing away with your old one. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Comment by wietog on 1/20/10 at 6:36 am #
  62. So everyone knows…I sent a second complaint to the company and I included the link to this blog.  Unlike my first complaint, I did not receive a response back.  I wonder what that means…

    Comment by chris on 1/20/10 at 7:29 am #
  63. MUST READ!

    This is still on their website under Our Brands:

    One thing Sweetheart lovers can count on each year is the candy’s simple, familiar formula. The basic recipe has never been changed. Both Sweethearts and the familiar NECCO Wafers use the same batter—sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring. Once the dough is rolled out, imprinted with sayings and then stamped out in the familiar heart shape, it goes through a 45-minute drying cycle to reach its proper consistency.

    HA HA HA

    They don’t even acknowledge this MAJOR COMPLETE change of their product on their own website.

    It may seem that it’s the candy I’m concerned with, but the truth is that I am sick and tired of companies trying to BS us. Case in point: Burt’s Bees was purchased by Clorox (!) a few years ago. Guess which flagship product has been almost completely reformulated with NO press release or announcement or packaging notation? Their peppermint lip balm. They’ve cheapened the ingredients while exploiting the good nature of a loyal and trusting customer base who have no reason to believe that the brand is corrupted.

    This has been going on for a long time in many companies, only it usually occurs when there’s a merger. In this case, it’s the new VPM Jackie Hague, I’m assuming.

    Comment by wietog on 1/20/10 at 8:31 am #
  64. One more thing…  I keep hearing about throwing these out.  Please take them back to the store where they were purchased and demand a refund.  I did.
    These are inedible and what better message than one from a grocery giant that they had to give a customer’s money back and now have a bunch of opened bags to deal with.

    Comment by dspillman on 1/20/10 at 11:14 am #
  65. I am a big fan of NECCO candy. I buy the rolls all the time and SO look forward to Valentine’s Day bags of Candy Hearts!  I bought my first bag last week and I knew I was in trouble when I opened the bag. The stench was awful, kind of cross between a cheap candle and hand soap.  Needless to say, I tasted the candy….bad news…..they tasted like a scent, not a flavor.  I thought I squirted handsoap in my mouth!  Threw the bag out and tried to find the classics and can’t anywhere!  SHAME!

    Comment by Carrie L on 1/20/10 at 11:43 am #
  66. Thank you, GoodNews.  I am going to check out the Dollar Tree as soon as possible to see if the old flavors are available.  I’m livid about this change!  I know that may sound obsessive, but I really looked forward to V Day, mostly because of the Sweethearts.  :(

    Comment by Katherine on 1/21/10 at 5:05 am #
  67. As with so many people on this blog, I was looking forward to the Valentines conversation hearts by NECCO.  I ran into the store, looking for the bright red boxes and saw pink instead.  Okay, so what - they changed their boxes.
    It was dark outside and I opened the bag in my car and popped a couple in.  The result?  Opening my car door and spitting it out (while gagging I might say).
    I wrote a small note to NECCO on their website but haven’t heard a thing.  Yes, they messed up badly.  Like someone else said, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!
    I searched Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Hyvee and Price Chopper and couldn’t find the traditional candies.  They ALL carried the new gross stuff.
    I’ve always been a fan of NECCO and have always disliked Brachs (those are too chalky in my opinion).  Five year olds might like these new flavors but let me tell you, I gave them to my 12 year old niece and she hated them too!  She’s 12!!!
    Thanks to the lady who suggested the Dollar Stores.  I found the originals at Family Dollar in Lawrence, KS just yesterday.  Grabbed up six sacks.
    If you open these and dislike them, don’t throw them away.  That will only wrongly prove to NECCO that these are a success when they are NOT.  Return them to the store and demand your money back! 
    Also, put this information out on Facebook - news travels SO fast there!

    Comment by J West on 1/21/10 at 5:13 am #
  68. YUCK!  I just wrote to Necco on their website to tell them.  Why take away something so popular?  I looked forward to them at Valentine’s.  I’ll be going to the Dollar Store.  What do we do when those run out though?

    Comment by Shel on 1/21/10 at 7:03 am #
  69. I finally got a response from Necco.  It was *surprise* the same form letter everyone else received. 

    I sent another email to Necco to inform them that I will no longer be purchasing their products.

    Comment by Kelly on 1/21/10 at 5:02 pm #
  70. Yes the new flavors are horrible.  Either flavor them or not.  Hints of flavor just taste biter and YUCK.  Anyway my over 40 years of hearts has ended.

    Comment by Lance on 1/22/10 at 5:07 am #
  71. Sweetheart candy hearts have been my favorite candy for many, many years.  From the time I find them on the store shelves to the end of the season I’m always picking up multiple bags to enjoy myself and share with grandkids, friends and co-workers. When I picked up my first bag this year I was truely disappointed with what I found. I do not like the new flavors (yuk)and the smell is worse.  The bag I bought had very few hearts with printed conversations on them. Whatever made you think the classic candy hearts needed such a change?  Hopefully I will be able to track down some bags with the original candy hearts that I love.

    Comment by P Powers on 1/22/10 at 5:59 am #
  72. I went to the Dollar Tree last night and bought every bag they had…. like two dozen! lol

    The checker must have thought I was out of my mind!

    I’m considering hitting up the 99 Cent Store and/or Big Lots too.

    This reminds me of “New Coke” and we all know how that ended.  Hopefully the “classic” hearts will be back someday…..  I honestly don’t see why they couldn’t make them both ways.

    Comment by LAinWLA on 1/22/10 at 8:34 am #
  73. Awful!!!!!! Would rather eat toothpaste! Bring back the original and pleeeeeeeaaaaaaasssseee!,
    “Don’t mess with success!”.

    Comment by PBFlorida on 1/22/10 at 9:14 am #
  74. I was so dissapointed.  Fritzie Fresh makes ones that are like the old hearts.  I picked up a bag today - necco - please change them back!

    Comment by cheri on 1/22/10 at 1:24 pm #
  75. I agree about the new ones being crap, I just saw today that the “old” ones are no longer in the stores.  I was SAD!  I was also going to email NECCO, but have not yet.  I will definitely be going to the dollar stores, etc., to get the old ones, and TONS OF them (to the dismay of my husband who hates when I crunch them!).

    Comment by Dana on 1/22/10 at 7:46 pm #
  76. I agree! Disgusting and overpowering. Thankfully I only bought one single sized box and not a bag of them, phew.

    Comment by katelyn on 1/22/10 at 8:19 pm #
  77. I was driving all over town yesterday looking for my favorite valentine hearts, but all I found was this imposter, or so I thought. I had no idea it was the new NECCO hearts. They tasted so bad I just knew they were by another company. I even wrote to NECCO asking where their candy was being sold.
    Then I discovered this blog. I’m happy to find that I’m not the only one that’s “addicted” to the hearts, but I’m very sad that they’re gone.
    I was surprised to see this article in the San Jose paper this morning. I guess they’ve got to promote the candy.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14251810?nclick_check=1

    I’m sure there are innocent victims that will by this candy without knowing.
    Why couldn’t they have put the new “tweeting and texting” words on the old candy? I’ll never understand why big, successful and OLD companies will listen to someone new as if they know more than they do about their business.

    I’m too old to be a baby boomer, and I don’t really care about the words. I just want the same candy that’s always been there.

    BTW, thanks to the info on here I went to the Dollar Tree last night and found a some bags and a few boxes.
    I noticed something interesting. They had boxes of the regular hearts, some of the tarts and there were a few boxes that said “Smoothies” on the front. These must have been around last year because they had the window on the front. Could they have been a test of the new flavors? I saw blueberry listed as one of the flavors. Just wondering what they were.
    Thanks for this great blog. I feel better knowing I’m not alone.
    I think I’ll write to NECCO, or call them, and let them know that I found out that the awful candy wasn’t a pretender, it was their own brand.

    Comment by Kathy on 1/23/10 at 5:37 am #
  78. Cybele's avatar

    I talked to Necco yesterday (and I’ll have more about that in another post) but did confirm that they’re interested in feedback from consumers.

    They also confirmed that they did produce BOTH versions this year, but the classic version is only sold at these stores: Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99 Cent Only, Freds, Odd Lots, Wakefern, Sav A Lot. They’ll still be in the old packaging.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/23/10 at 7:03 am #
  79. I actually wrote to the Necco Company and complained! They actually replied! I also replied to their reply saying I would not be buying them again. Gross! It ruined my Valentines Day Candy! How rude of them!!!

    Comment by Cindee on 1/23/10 at 7:05 am #
  80. Here is the letter I got from Necco:
    Thank you for contacting the New England Confectionery Company regarding your experience with our Conversation Hearts.  We greatly appreciate you taking the time to inform us of this incident and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

    We are sorry to learn you were disappointed with the new heart flavors you purchased. 

    I am sorry but the Original one?s are no longer.

    These are the only flavor changes all others are the same.

    Wintergreen   is no longer    

    Banana   is now Lemon

    Lime   is now Sour Apple        

    We appreciate your patronage and hope you will continue to enjoy our products.



    Sincerely,   


    Theresa Denis
    Consumer Correspondent

    Comment by Cindee on 1/23/10 at 7:12 am #
  81. I agree!!! In a ridiculously overstated season for CHANGE…the things that work should stay the same!!! Bring back the old flavors. No change needed.  The only change that will happen in our house is more Hershey’s kisses instead of candy hearts will be purchased :( for Necco smilefor Hersheys.

    Comment by Julie on 1/23/10 at 9:08 am #
  82. I agree.
    I am SO SO disappointed.
    I cannot believe they replaced the original candy hearts with these.
    They are not good and not what people want.

    As much as I dont like the Brachs (off-brand) that makes candy hearts too, I have to admit these are better than the new NECCO ones.

    Comment by Jordana on 1/23/10 at 10:32 am #
  83. I look forward to these every year. I didn’t even recognize them with the new packaging. I saw the new flavors were reminiscent of last year’s failed tropical hearts. They do stink, and taste terrible. I like more chalk, less flavor. The new pink is the worst, I much prefer the cherry that tasted like pepto. I plan on contacting the company.

    Comment by sarah on 1/23/10 at 4:14 pm #
  84. Big mistake on the part of NECCO, it is no wonder that they did not put “NECCO” on the package, the new ones are terrible.

    Thanks to this blog I found the old ones in our local dollar stores and bought 16 bags. Hopefully NECCO will realize that they made a major oops and bring them back next year. Jackie Hague should be fired, as she obviously did not do her research.

    I sincerely hope that the company reads this blog and the negative e-mails that they are receiving.

    Comment by Terry on 1/24/10 at 5:16 am #
  85. I am somewhat dissapointed with the new yellow ones, i liked the old banana flavor better, the other ones are not too bad.

    Comment by Stacy on 1/24/10 at 7:24 am #
  86. I am completely sick over what Necco has done to my favorite candy! Is it possible to have ALL of these comments sent to the company? Someone please help!

    Comment by Teresa on 1/24/10 at 10:12 am #
  87. The new sweethearts are horrible. I’M PISSED!!! I loved the old hearts and waited all year for them to come out. I’m compleatly let down I hope the candy compleatly flops this year and they have to go back to the old style. I’m also calling the company to complain.

    Comment by Shauna M on 1/24/10 at 2:28 pm #
  88. OMG OMG OMG I AM SO SAD!!!! I WAS AT MY LOCAL GROCERY STORE TODAY AND I NOTICED THE DRAMATIC CHANGE. IM IMMEDIATLEY BEGAN TO WEEP. I WAS WEEPING SO HARD THAT KROGER SECURITY HAD TO COME RESCUE ME AND THEN CALL 911. NECCO, PLEASE BRING BACK THE ORIGINALS!!!! IM NOT SURE THAT I CAN MAKE IT THRU VALENTINES DAYS WITHOUT YOU!!!!

    Comment by H. Nagy on 1/24/10 at 2:52 pm #
  89. So sad! checked 3 stores before I realized the change. These were my favorite thing about valentines. The new ones are disgusting!!

    Comment by lacey on 1/24/10 at 3:57 pm #
  90. I too went to about 4 different stores before I realized that the one candy I wait for all year has been changed, and I cant believe it.  Did the company taste them before they put them on the shelf?  Im all for new candies, put DON’T mess with an original!!!!  I really hope they bring back the old ones.

    Comment by Karyn on 1/24/10 at 5:20 pm #
  91. I love the Necco Sweartheart Candy Hearts and always look forward to their arrival in the stores. What a disappointment this year to find a new package with different flavors - they don’t even taste good.

    Comment by Karen Jones on 1/24/10 at 6:47 pm #
  92. Could you please send a copy of all these comments to the Necco Company? I don’t recall any other candy causing such a response!
    Thanks!

    Comment by Teresa on 1/24/10 at 7:18 pm #
  93. I was so disappointed when I went to buy Necco sweetheart candies after Christmas and realized the package had been changed along with the flavors of candies.  Sweet and tart are not a good combination.  They were absolutely disgusting!!  So I went on a search for the original Necco sweetheart candies to find that they were nowhere to be found.  Every year I buy about 15 packages of these candies before Valentine’s Day is over so they last me throughout the year.  Why would your company change such a good thing?  I know one thing, I will not be purchasing any of the new sweetheart candies!!  I think you should go back to the original Necco sweetheart candies because I’m sure you will notice that your sales are going to drop!!!  Bring the original “YUMMY” sweetheart candies back!!!!

    Comment by Jennifer on 1/24/10 at 11:14 pm #
  94. I thoroughly enjoyed the original and was horrified to learn that this new brand replaced the original. THEY ARE HORRIBLE. Please bring back the original. THey need to learn not to mess with a classic.

    Comment by Michelle on 1/25/10 at 5:56 am #
  95. I am so glad I found this post, I have been running around Des Moines IA trying to find the old ones. Will check the Dollar Stores, but am sure they won’t be soft and fresh.  The oldies were my favorite candy ever and I counted down the days until they appeared in stores. I too have written and called Necco to find out what is going on, but have had no response yet. So sad!

    Comment by heartbroken on 1/25/10 at 8:57 am #
  96. Cybele's avatar

    Just to confirm for folks who aren’t reading my comments - the candies sold at the dollar stores are fresh. I found them yesterday at Dollar Tree. They’re just in the old packaging and don’t have the new mottoes on the, but they were made for the 2010 season. (That doesn’t mean that some very old inventory isn’t out there.)

    I definitely encourage everyone to send their feedback to Necco. This change to the new flavors was made because of consumer feedback (people sent in requests for new flavors and a softer texture). So if enough consumers say that they prefer the old ones, I’ll be they continue to make them.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/25/10 at 9:00 am #
  97. Yes…I agree with a lot of the other posts here…Necco….what are you thinking changing the original sweethearts?  Holy cow!  I absolutely *hate* these awful flavored new ones…I looked high and low for the old “original” sweethearts also and could not find them.  I am a huge Necco wafer fan….but even like the original sweethearts flavors and size/shape better than the wafers.

    I pass up the Brach’s hearts to find these things….I hate to say it…(I’m not a Brach’s conversation hearts fan either) but the Brach’s are actually better than Necco for the first time ever!  Please make it the last time and bring back the originals!  smile

    Comment by Matt on 1/25/10 at 9:54 am #
  98. Hate, Hate, HATE the new ones.  If u eat more than one at a time (my guilty indulgence) the flavors work against each other and taste HORRID!  I prefer the original ones.  If I wanted Tart I’d buy the SweeTart hearts.  I hope they bring back the originals or at least give us a choice.  I went to 5 different stores looking for the “real” hearts.  Now I’m heart broken!!!!

    Comment by Helen on 1/25/10 at 11:02 am #
  99. So So disappointed!
    I give these to my husband and kids every year, we all love them! I can’t believe it Why not keep the classic and create a new box of “new flavors” for those who are seeking something different?
    Necco just cut out a huge market of customers! the new hearts are disgusting and we will not be purchasing any more. I hope they come back!

    Comment by K. Perez on 1/25/10 at 5:04 pm #
  100. Bought them…hate them!  I was raised on these…have eaten them for over 50 years!  I think it is BS that they changed them!  I am going to go and find every box of Necco wafers I can and buy them in case they paln on changing them too!  I wrote NECCO, got a nice coporate BS letter back….such a shame…if it ani’t broke don’t fix it!  You want softer candy, fine….but don’t change the flavors!  Green apple…GOD!  Everybody nneds to write Necco online, they have a place to complain.

    Comment by Sandy on 1/25/10 at 5:33 pm #
  101. I just read some of these comments, I got the same exact letter when I emailed Necco!  It is a form letter!  Jeez!!!!!!

    Comment by Sandy on 1/25/10 at 6:43 pm #
  102. I finally received a letter regarding the complaint I made (which included this link), and here is the letter I received:

    Thank you for writing to Necco with your feedback.

    Terry

    The email was through the name Theresa M Denis.
    I guess there wasn’t much to say on the subject.

    I would also like to add that when I walk by the valentine section in any store and I see the curious faces looking over the new bags, I kindly explain the change and inform them of the complaints thus far.  So far, 100% of the people have put them back.

    Comment by chris on 1/26/10 at 2:51 am #
  103. Thank goodness I found this blog! I thought I was going crazy not being able to find my original sweethearts anywhere. The new ones are truly awful and I can’t believe Necco believes the new ones will sell better than the originals.
    Thanks for the tip about Dollar General and the Dollar Store. I’m stopping by them on my way home from work today and buying all the bags I can find.

    Comment by Kathy D. on 1/26/10 at 8:19 am #
  104. I bought them after looking at the package and finally saw the NECCO logo.

    Got them home and pitched them.  Yuck.  Wish I would have read this site first, but I guess, who would have thought…..

    Don’t like Brachs and don’t like the new NECCO.

    Come on, once a year, I want to remember the good old days.  I guess you can’t count on anything anymore.

    Comment by AB on 1/26/10 at 8:36 am #
  105. OMG! This is an outrage!!!! I am another dissappointed consumer. After visiting 5 stores and looking for the Neeco hearts, I thought what happened to them. After seeing this blog which made me happy to confirm that everyone hates these new flavors. Hope Neeco takes these comments seriously and brings the classic hearts back! I mean it!!!! It has ruined my whole families Valentine’s Day too.

    Comment by Dawn B. on 1/26/10 at 9:39 am #
  106. I agree with so many of the above comments, and I
    to will be running to a dollar store to find my
    old favorites! “If it’s not broken, why fix it!”
    Really disappointed when I opened up my bag from the grocery store. Ate one handful and threw the bag away.  TERRIBLE TASTE, and after taste to top
    it off!  Sorry, pretty new packaging, but that’s about it!

    Comment by Teresa Z on 1/26/10 at 10:03 am #
  107. These new flavors are terrible!  Why would a company totally change something without letting their customers know they are different - the bag is not see through so you cannot see the candies.  I bought two bags, tasted one candy and threw the entire purchase away.  UCK.  The company should rethink their changes.

    Comment by Lisa S on 1/26/10 at 11:35 am #
  108. OMG! This is the worse candy I have ever put in mouth!  I threw it in the trash! I have to go find something to get the taste out of my mouth!

    Comment by Rebecca Couchman on 1/26/10 at 1:50 pm #
  109. All of the positive “articles” written about the new candies are simply advertisements generated by the company itself. The general public and consumer will not be fooled for long. Yes, they are pretty. Yes, they have “cool” sayings. No, they don’t taste like something people should put in their mouths. It would be wonderful if the company could just admit that they’ve made a drastic mistake, and correct it as soon as possible. Otherwise, they will lose a vast number of future consumers and loyal fans, along with their children and grandchildren.  I would also like to suggest that people return their candy directly to Necco instead of throwing it in the trash.

    Comment by Teresa on 1/26/10 at 2:48 pm #
  110. #

    I too hate, hate, hate the new Sweetheart flavors.  I don?t like most candy, but I look forward to Valetine?s season.  Not because of all the lovey, dovey stuff, not because of the flowers, not because of the chocolates, but because of the NECCO sweethearts.  I was so letdown when I opened that first little box this year.  Oh, the blue one threw me a little, but I just assumed NECCO had added a new color. I tried it and hated it and then I went through the box and threw all the blue ones away.  I thought I was safe and then I sampled one of the tried and true colors?YUCK!

    I?ll be writing to NECCO tonight to let them know that changing my Sweethearts is more disappointing than the year my husband forgot Valentine?s day!

    Comment by JoAN on 1/26/10 at 3:47 pm #
  111. Upon Googling “Necco President” I ran across this quote from 2008:

    ?Many of our products have deep historical roots,? said NECCO President Domenic M. Antonellis. ?One of the ways we preserve the Sweethearts tradition Americans have enjoyed throughout this century, is by not tampering with what works.?

    Mr. Antonellis has been promoted to Chairman of the Board.

    And then I found this from 2009:
    For more than 160 years, Necco wafers have remained the same.  Same ingredients, same look, same taste.  But now that’s about to change.

    “We’ve taken the fake things out,” said Necco President and CEO Rich Krause.

    The Revere company will no longer use artificial colors or flavors in its wafers. Krause says it’s in response to concerned mothers.

    “Anything from 40 million moms out there, whose children are having some behavioral or learning disabilities, ADHD, some of this has been tied to some of the ingredients people are using.”

    Changing recipes that have been around more than a century is no small task.

    Jeff Green, Vice President of Innovation at the company, who basically is the candy guru there, came up with the new formulas.

    Comment by disappointed on 1/26/10 at 3:56 pm #
  112. Cybele's avatar

    disappointed - good finds! Though there were two major changes in the past year: Necco Wafers went all natural (and possibly back to being Kosher soon), and Sweethearts changed all but one of the flavors plus the texture (and are now even less natural).

    Seems odd that the concerned mothers are interested in Necco Wafers and not Sweethearts - as I’d say as a kid I was far more interested in the hearts ... especially since Necco’s new innovations with Twilight tie ins and the USO version are for year-round.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/26/10 at 4:00 pm #
  113. Thank you for noticing. I have been very frustrated looking for the original ones. I thought theses nasty little hearts were made from some cheap company. I can’t believe they changed it. There is no comparison. I can’t imagine how these will sell. Maybe the first bag or box, but once people taste them they will end up in the garbage(mine did). Is there hope for the return of our original hearts?

    Summer 1-27-10

    Comment by Summer O on 1/27/10 at 10:44 am #
  114. I too always looked forward to the sweet heart conversation hearts and was so disappointed by the changes they’ve made.  The taste is horrible!  I won’t buy them anymore.  What is wrong with a company that would change a proven formula so dramatically that people will no longer buy them?  Terrible move as far as I’m concerned!

    Comment by Carol Morris on 1/27/10 at 3:45 pm #
  115. Cybele's avatar

    Just to let everyone know, I interviewed Jackie Hague of Necco last week and have updated the post at the end with some new information.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/27/10 at 5:32 pm #
  116. Thank you for the update and for the interview with Ms. Hague. It makes her seem to be a real human being, and humans do make mistakes. (This was a big one.) One thing I would like to see posted or made available is the data that supports all of these “millions” (?) of requests for these changes. Or, did someone go out to preschools to do surveys with young mothers, who were mentioned as target consumers in another article. While I would not allow a child to eat these “new” hearts, they would make cute decorations and could be glued on craft projects. At this point, the ONLY way Necco can redeem themselves in the eyes of their former loyal following is to make the originals again, along with the new ones and give the consumer choices. Whether one can aquire a taste for the chemical compounds remains to be seen, but it is obvious that most of the positive press has been company generated. Where are the positive responses on this blog and on other web-sites? I have not seen any so far.

    Comment by Teresa on 1/27/10 at 6:27 pm #
  117. omg i m so disappointed i look forward to buying the original sweethearts every year i went in to buy them all excited and left sad because they were not the same and tasted horrible!!!!! it makes me sad cause it always brought back memories it makes me wanna cry !! they better change it back or i m not gonna be buyng sweethearts any time soon:/

    Comment by sierra on 1/27/10 at 6:48 pm #
  118. I was quite disappointed not to see the comforting and familiar packaging of the sweethearts in the stores.  I didn’t buy the new brand because Necco was not on the label, and I’ve never liked any other candy hearts but Necco’s.  Then I found out these WERE Necco’s, so I bought them, despite the fact that they smelled funny without the package even being opened.  I understand Necco’s desire to try something new, as our world often encourages stepping out and trying new things.  I’d love to make a strong request, however, to return to the old style!  I love the taste of the old sweethearts (I always bought the bags from Target because those seemed to have the softest hearts as well.)  I am not at all in preference to these new flavors.  I am excited to hear that the Dollar Tree has the old brand, though!  Necco, thanks for all the great candy hearts over the years, and I hope to see them again next year! smile

    Comment by Kir on 1/28/10 at 4:37 am #
  119. I wanted to add another comment. I decided to test the theory that the new flavors would be more appealing to young people. I asked my 10 year old granddaughter to try them. She put one in her mouth and started chewing. She made a face and said, “Ewww” this is gross. She couldn’t finish it. I passed the bag around to my 14 year old grandson and my husband, both reacted strongly to the smell. There is definitely something unpleasant in that candy. My grandson wouldn’t even try one.
    I’m sorry, but by the interviews that I’ve read I can’t make since of what they plan on doing, but anything short of bringing them back is a mistake.

    Comment by Kathy on 1/28/10 at 5:01 am #
  120. I wanted to add that after my granddaughter got rid of the new Sweetheart candy she finished off a box of the old stuff, which she said was much better.
    I got it at our local Dollar Tree.

    I’d also like to know how they did their customer survey about changing the candy.

    Comment by Kathy on 1/28/10 at 5:07 am #
  121. I have always LOVED the NECCO conversation hearts.  No other brand has ever come close to comparing to these conversation hearts!  I’d go through bags and bags every year.  After have no luck finding them this year, I tried what I am now being told are the “new and improved version”.  They are HORRIFIC!!  I hate them.  The taste is just sick and the after taste may be even worse.  I will never buy them again!  EVER!!!

    Comment by Amanda on 1/28/10 at 8:08 am #
  122. Thank you for this information. I am sooooo ticked off.  I bought a bag thinking that they had just updated their packaging.  The taste is horrid!  I have emailed the company.  I hope they are bombarded with a negative response. I can’t believe anyone approved these for production.  And if they thought they needed these, why replace, why not just add something new.  So stupid!

    Comment by Donna Wells on 1/28/10 at 12:12 pm #
  123. oh my god!!  I hate the new flavors, my 11 yr son said to me that the reason he like valentines is because of how happy i get when the candy hits the shelves.  It has been my favorite for years and they screwed it up. I am so mad and must be nuts for sending this. lol

    Comment by Ken Peterson on 1/28/10 at 3:04 pm #
  124. I was really looking forward to indulging my anual craving for excessive quantities of Valentine’s Day Necco hearts. But the new flavors are downright nasty and the new bag design serves only to help me identify what I don’t want to buy! I am very disapointed.

    Comment by Kris on 1/28/10 at 5:09 pm #
  125. Gross.  Was so excited to purchase a box…......until I tasted them.  There are plenty of sour/tangy candies out there.  That WAS exactly why I would buy the Sweethearts.  Not anymore.

    Comment by Jamie on 1/28/10 at 10:17 pm #
  126. By the way not only are they awful tasting and smelling, but the new bag is 7 oz for 99 cents the Traditional ones were 8 oz for 88cents last year….so they also downsized.  Hopefully they will go back to the 145 year traditional flavors next year.

    Comment by Traditional Necco Fan on 1/29/10 at 4:28 am #
  127. While I don’t have any particular candy heart association, I do know that a couple of my very close friends have been disturbed by the lack of the traditional candy heart this season.  thanks a lot cupid. love is dead.

    Comment by friend of the affected on 1/29/10 at 8:19 am #
  128. I cannot believe the classic candy heart has been replaced by this crap.  Seriously, blue razzmatazz??  Gross. Nothing says love like ‘text me’ on a neon blue piece of melting chalk :(

    Comment by no love on 1/29/10 at 9:56 am #
  129. I, too, am traumatized by the change in my favorite Valentine’s Day candy.  I used to eat at least 10 bags….I called the company to express my disappointment and I was informed that they did not know what the marketing dept. planned to do about the number of complaints they had received.  I was told, however, that the candy is good for two years (he said they are actually good for longer, but with all things, a shelf life date has to be placed on the packaging), so I will be going to my local dollar store and buying all I can get my hands on until a final decision is made.

    Comment by Dee on 1/29/10 at 10:58 am #
  130. Absolutely horrendous. The smell is like sour milk & the flavors are horrible, like sucking on scented soap or perfume.
    PLEASE PLEASE return to the original flavors.
    I will NOT be purchasing these ever again.

    Comment by Graham Chapman on 1/29/10 at 3:53 pm #
  131. I think Necco owes each and every one of us a sincere apology for RUINING our Valentines Day. They need to return to the original flavors and promise us they will NEVER toy with our taste buds like this EVER AGAIN. I also think the person or persons who made the decision to completely change our beloved heart candies should be forced to eat an entire bag of the new flavors.  Some might say this is cruel and unusual punishment, but I say the punishment should fit the crime.

    Comment by Julie on 1/30/10 at 1:42 am #
  132. I too emailed the company and got the standard response, then replied and forwarded it to the ‘higher ups’.  Sweethearts are an American tradition—even for those who do not celebrate Valentine’s day.  Those of us who love them would NEVER suggest that they change the flavors, only first-time buyers would, and they aren’t the loyal consumers who have made them #1 in sales!  Either that, or the other Valentine’s Day candy companies had all of their employees suggest it to put them out of business. wink  My three girls won’t eat ANY of their current Sweetheart lines— they say that the medicine I give them when they are sick tastes better.  In my household alone, they have lost 4 consumers, and my girls’ favorite flavors from the original recipe are wintergreen and banana.  I have told everyone I know not to buy the new product, and have passed the story on to a college newspaper reporter.  The lack of profits should send a very clear message to them (although, they hedged their bets by not telling their retail outlets that they were buying the new product, so the stores will be stuck with them).  We want our original Sweethearts back!  And keep them away from Peeps and Candy Canes too!

    Comment by Kimberly on 1/30/10 at 4:57 am #
  133. Oh, and the new cool sayings they have been raving about— they are on the old recipe Sweethearts that I purchased at the Dollar Tree yesterday!  I have a white wintergreen one that says “Tweet Me”.  I looks like they printed on the original recipe just fine!

    Comment by Kimberly on 1/30/10 at 5:09 am #
  134. Thank you candy blog for the tip!!!  Family Dollar had the old ones today and I bought them all.

    Comment by Mike on 1/30/10 at 5:23 am #
  135. My pulse quickens in anticipation of the arrival of the candy hearts each year.I order them from nutsonline.com when February feels too far away. This year when I saw the new packaging I wasn’t pleased - a neon blue candy heart? When I tasted them I was repulsed. I’d rather eat an old white chocolate rabbit - and believe me, that’s as low as a candy can get in my book!

    Comment by candy wolf on 1/30/10 at 5:30 am #
  136. Jackie Hague should be fired immediately. These are the most digusting and vile things I have ever eaten. I’m returning these to the store and boycotting Necco products until they change back to the originals. My 13 year old son wants to stage a Boston Tea Party and dump all these nasty things in front of Necco. I think that might not be a bad idea. Thanks for ruining Valentine’s season, Necco. Jackie Hague sucks. BRING BACK THE ORIGINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by NEW SWEETHEART HATER on 1/30/10 at 7:35 am #
  137. I bought a multi-pack of the small boxes and made the mistake of taking a few of them into the movies to snack on. (I saw Avatar, so I had plenty of time to eat 3 of the tiny boxes.) I am pretty sure the “tangy” new flavors caused an acid-like burn on the tip of my tongue. It’s like the ruined the taste buds there and this has lasted for over two weeks. I’m wondering if whatever they use to make the candies is just too intense to eat a lot of at once? The new flavors are terrible, too. I think the blue is the worst; it has the most acidic flavor. I gave one to my friends and they both had to spit them out!

    I’m also confused about the “new texture” because the boxes I ate seemed to have about 80% old style hard texture and 10% mushy textured hearts.

    Have you seen they also have women style theater size boxes made with “real fruit”?

    Comment by Carly on 1/30/10 at 8:17 am #
  138. I just opened my bag of conversation hearts, anticipating the familiar flavors I came to know over 40+ years. The package was completely different, then when I opened the bag, the smell was downright horrible. Then I saw the funky blue hearts. I honestly thought I’d bought the wrong brand. What happened to my favorite yellow hearts? What is that flavor? And the blue ones poisoned all the rest of the hearts with their strong smell.

    I am glad I found this site—it’s not me, it’s the NEW hearts. Well, I want my OLD hearts back, thank you very much. I am going to try my Dollar Store and hope I can find them there.

    And I am sending this entire package back to the manufacturer with a little love note of my own.

    PLEASE BRING BACK THE OLD FLAVORS!! Some of us look forward to having these every year. What’s next? Are they gonna muck with the recipe for Coke? (Oh wait, that worked out equally as “well”, too, didn’t it?)

    So, so sad about this.

    Comment by Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!!!!! on 1/30/10 at 8:44 am #
  139. This is my second posting, just wanted everyone to know that I received the same form letter back from Necco as everyone else.  Huh, they made it sound as if I was actually complimenting them, when in fact, I told them how much their new flavors sucked!
    I also wrote to the Food Network asking them to interview Necco on their program “Unwrapped”.  THEY will be able to get to the bottom of Necco’s weird thoughts as to why this change would work.

    Comment by J West on 1/30/10 at 1:29 pm #
  140. WHY RUIN VALENTINE’S DAY?  I’M SO MAD! 
    I have been a fan of Necco Conversation Hearts about 53 yrs.  The small and the large ones with the scalloped edges, remember??  Especially when they are good and crunchy.  I couldn’t wait for them to be on the shelves, and I would buy tons of boxes and bags when they were on sale after Valentine’s Day so I would have them even longer!
    This week when I rushed to the shelves at Walgreen’s, I grabbed up one of the bags and stopped.  They didn’t look right.. where was the NECCO brand?  What are these new colors?  I bought a box along with the bag just in case.  YUK!  NASTY FLAVORS!  I’m going to Dollar General, and all those other dollar stores to buy up the original ones.  I’M SWEETHEART-BROKEN!

    Comment by RitaBean74 on 1/30/10 at 1:33 pm #
  141. These are the worst things I have ever had….My birthday is on valentines and I am very allergic to chocolate soooo these were the candies I looked forward to eating this time of year… Not So Much Anymore! I loved these hearts from the time I was a KID! I was very sad to see and taste the change…Im not sure why they felt they needed to change something that seemed to work for all these years! You shouldnt fix what isnt Broken! Please please make these awful things go away and bring back the old ones!

    Comment by Heather M Sooy on 1/30/10 at 1:52 pm #
  142. The “New Coke” of candies! Someone will and should be fired for this. Where is the management in the company?

    Another little piece of goodness is gone in this world.

    Comment by M.J. on 1/30/10 at 3:47 pm #
  143. So dissapointed.  I thought I grabbed the wrong brand.  I could only eat two of them and threw the rest away.  My kids loved these for years.  I enjoyed filling a large glass container with four bags of Conversation Hearts at Valtentines Day.  Not this year.  I too will be hitting the Dollar Tree for the old versions or find a knockoff.  I also wrote the company suggesting someone ought to be fired!

    Comment by Angie on 1/30/10 at 10:36 pm #
  144. I love Sweethearts & buy numerous boxes every year. This year I bought 3 boxes and couldn’t get over how horrible the new flavors were. I first thought I had purchased a knock off brand accidently but after going on the Neco website, realized they changed the flavors. I wrote an email to them but haven’t heard back yet. It’s a shame they have lost a long time customer.

    Comment by Heather on 1/31/10 at 1:40 pm #
  145. Absolutely DO NOT like the new sweethearts!!  You hit it on the head with your review - bad new packaging, the Necco Brand name is no where to be seen, and the flavors are HORRIBLE!!  I bought 2 bags and will be returning the unopened bag!!  I want the old ones back!  This candy is over 100 years old and now they decide to change it??  I think this company is nuts!

    Comment by Sarah P. on 1/31/10 at 4:33 pm #
  146. The retailers should send their entire shipment back as ‘defective’ since they didn’t receive the product they thought they were ordering.  Wouldn’t that be considered fraud— not telling the retailers that the product is ‘new’ when they sell it to them?  At the very least, it is a bait and switch tactic. 

    Necco has probably sold all of this years product under the old name, so they won’t see a loss until next year.

    Comment by Kimberly on 2/01/10 at 4:00 am #
  147. Facebook group created about this topic also…..

    Comment by ss on 2/01/10 at 5:15 am #
  148. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=278253055199

    Comment by ss on 2/01/10 at 5:16 am #
  149. Cybele's avatar

    SS - Chad, who created the group, posted about it way up there at #25 and I posted the link on my twitter feed as well.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/01/10 at 5:21 am #
  150. The new ones are Yuck - gross.  We just went to the dollar store looking for the ones from last year and stocked up on them.

    Comment by kmk on 2/01/10 at 5:28 am #
  151. I’m part of the club that absolutely HATES these new “flavors”.  It took me forever to get the terrible taste out of my mouth. 
    I ran right over to the dollar store and bought eight bags of the old version.  Whew!  At least this Valentine’s day candy won’t be a total loss.
    Oh, and just a tip, if the candies are so hard that they can break a tooth, just put them in a sealed container with a piece of bread.  (just like you do for hard brown sugar)  They should be nice and soft in about a day.

    Comment by REnee on 2/01/10 at 6:00 am #
  152. Hi, does anyone know where I can find the old sweetheart tart candy boxes or bags? I don’t want the new dazzled hearts. I’m getting upset now because they changed them and they also didn’t seem to care about it when I emailed them a month ago. I just tried ordering them from orientaltrading.com and I am hoping it will be the old tart hearts. Has anyone seen them in any stores? All I see are the new dazzled ones. :(

    Comment by Heather on 2/01/10 at 7:57 am #
  153. Heather,
    From the picture on the Oriental Trading Co site it looks like you’ll be getting the old version. The package looks like the old version.
    Good luck!

    Kathy

    BTW, Necco never answered my email!


    <<I just tried ordering them from orientaltrading.com and I am hoping it will be the old tart hearts. Has anyone seen them in any stores? All I see are the new dazzled ones. :( >>

    Comment by Kathy on 2/01/10 at 10:43 am #
  154. You may be able to get the old Tart hearts, but the regular Sweethearts I ordered from Oriental Trading Company (A set of 36 boxes) were the NEW horrible ones. I called the company to return them and they would not take them back because they were candy. They DID, however, refund the my money for the product, but not the shipping charges. The representative I spoke to said to throw them away. I let her know that they were carrying what tasted like a toxic product and they should investigate. grin

    Comment by Teresa on 2/01/10 at 10:53 am #
  155. So silly me tried them.  They are gross.  Even my children threw them out.  So I wrote them and let them know this. Hopefully this will help out a little.

    Comment by Neefer on 2/01/10 at 10:55 am #
  156. I just sent a complaint to Necco. This is so disappointing. I look forward to this time of year with a passion for eating these hearts. They have been my favorite candy for over three decades. An absolute disaster of an idea. SAVE VALENTINE’S DAY! PLEASE CONTACT NECCO!

    Comment by (Original) sweetheart fan on 2/01/10 at 2:51 pm #
  157. My wife hates them…

    Comment by Jonathan Patrick on 2/01/10 at 2:54 pm #
  158. I found them at the dollar tree!!!! yay! What’s weird is that they have the new sweethearts in bags and the old ones in boxes! And the old tarts in packs of 4 boxes so I bought 20 of the 4 packs lol(so like 80 boxes for 20 instead of 72 for 35) When I got home, I cancelled my orientaltrading order since they were cheaper at the dollar tree and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. I’m still not sure they would have sent me the old ones anyway. So I’m going to go back to the dollar tree and buy more to stock up in case necco doesnt come to their senses. I guess I just can’t eat them as often since they will eventually run out. :(

    Comment by Heather on 2/01/10 at 7:19 pm #
  159. I am HUGELY disappointed by this change (but so happy my mom found your blog). This WAS the ONLY brand of conversation hearts I would buy. I went to 4 stores before figuring I was just going crazy. I bought the new bag- although it took me awhile to recognize them (hate the new bag too) and the smell that soon filled up my car was enough for me to walk back into the store & return them. BOOOO! Thanks so much for this blog & entry so I could find out what was going on.

    Comment by beth on 2/02/10 at 4:43 am #
  160. Let them know the new formulas are terrible.
    http://www.necco.com/ContactUs/Default.asp

    Comment by Lance on 2/02/10 at 4:56 am #
  161. Just for a response back for my complaint.  They pointed out that if my children would like something else they have Dazzle candies.  Which are brightly colored and the flavors sound awful.  they are not hearing our issue.  I wrote back and pointed out that the issue was the flavor and terrible colors, that I will not be feeding my children that anytime soon.

    Comment by Neefer on 2/02/10 at 5:10 am #
  162. Thank you for writing to Necco,  I wanted to personally thank you for all of your input on our new Sweethearts.  They are a great US made product and I am glad to hear you are a longtime fan. Over the years, our number one product requests have been around producing a more flavorful and softer product. Sweethearts have been America?s favorite Valentine?s Day candy for over 145 years now and we needed to ensure that Sweethearts continue to delight people of all ages.

    It?s never easy to change something that hasn?t been changed for a very long time and we appreciate your support as we continue to come up with new flavors and ways to say I Love You. Here?s more information about all of our exciting changes:

    Our new softer Original Flavors now include: Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon, Grape and Orange. The color of the hearts were changed to match the flavors so people could tell what flavor they were eating before they even tried them. The new expressions on the Sweethearts were chosen by over 10,000 Americans at mysweethearts.com back in the summer. The complete list of the top new sayings includes both contemporary expressions like Tweet? Me and Text Me and beloved classics like ?Love Me? and ?Sweet Pea.? The packaging was changed to make the product easier to find at shelf. And our little 1oz boxes are now slightly smaller with no window, to be more sustainable and easier to handle for tiny kid hands. The back of our 1oz boxes was also changed so that kids could write in their To/From names in pencil.

    If you are looking for something to share with the little girls in your life be sure to check out our new Sweethearts Dazzled Tarts with flavors including: Pink Lemonade, Wild Berry Grape, Sour Apple, Watermelon, Extreme Tangerine and Blue Raspberry. These new Sweethearts are dazzled and have crowns and shoes on them!

    So, thank you for your feedback and please stick with us. Let us know what you think of our other Sweetheart products. Also, check our http://www.mysweethearts.com  for free recipe ideas and craft projects.
    These stores still have the old flavors.

    Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99 Cent Only, Freds , Odd Lots, Wakefern,  Sav A Lot.

    Thank you again for writing.

    Comment by Neefer on 2/02/10 at 5:16 am #
  163. That is the same form letter tha most of us have received. It would be helpful to take the letter and respond line-by-line at the problems with each statement.

    I called the company and was directed to a pleasant woman whose job it is to listen to complaints. I could tell she was amused by our conversation, but she didn’t argue or disagree that they were disgusting. At least they have to keep track of the responses, I think.

    To make your own call: 781-485-4500

    Comment by Teresa on 2/02/10 at 5:51 am #
  164. I actually went to the store and saw they were different this year.  I was looking forward to them this year.  I bought a bag of Brach’s converstation hearts instead.  Did not even want to try the new hearts.

    Comment by Sara on 2/02/10 at 6:35 am #
  165. Amazon is selling the conversation hearts. I left a negative review, but I don’t think it will show up for a day or two. I see there is more than one place on Amazone where they’re selling the candies. I’ll probably go back and paste my first review on that page also.

    I think it’s only fair that we warn people before they buy them. I also put a link to this blog so they could get the whole story.

    Comment by Kathy on 2/02/10 at 6:55 am #
  166. I have a better question to everyone here in the blog and those who have visited by not left comments….“Does anyone LIKE the new Necco Sweethearts?”

    I have already left a comment in this blog as well at how awful I think the new sweethearts are (all of us here agree to that).  I am just curious as to if anyone actually likes the new sweethearts?  Because I haven’t found one positive review of them anywhere.  lol

    Comment by Matt on 2/02/10 at 7:07 am #
  167. Cybele's avatar

    Matt - I think there have been a couple of comments, either here or on the original review, that mention that they don’t mind the new flavors.

    I put up a poll last week - over there on the right column - to see if there were folks who like them but haven’t necessarily chimed into this thread. There are 11 at this writing who either like them better or like them just as much as the old ones.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/02/10 at 7:11 am #
  168. And I’ll bet they work for the company or never tasted the old ones.

    Comment by Teresa on 2/02/10 at 7:21 am #
  169. Cybele,
    I enjoyed watching the interview you did several years ago about Hershey chocolate with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.Is there any chance you could appear on the show to speak about the Sweethearts dilemma this time? How can the general public make suggestions to these news shows? Perhaps you can make a call to your old friend, Matt and tell him it is a national emergency!  grin

    Comment by Teresa on 2/02/10 at 7:26 am #
  170. Cybele's avatar

    Teresa - I checked the IP addresses of the positive votes and they are not from the Boston area ... I think there ARE people who will like the new ones, just not as many as liked the old ones. (They did make 8 billion a year of the old ones, SOMEONE must have liked them.)

    I was contacted by the Today Show about the Hershey’s chocolate change, only after months of other bloggers and major media newspapers/websites covering the story. I’m afraid that the short time period between when we discovered this change and when they’ll disappear from shelves for the year is too short for this media cycle. That doesn’t mean that you should suggest it - most newspapers & local news stations have contact info & tip line emails.

    (I never actually met Matt ... a producer & cameraman came to my house in Los Angeles and shot the segment several weeks before it turned up on the show ... the segment was pre-empted on the West Coast for President Bush, so I never actually saw it on TV.)

    Comment by Cybele on 2/02/10 at 7:34 am #
  171. Not cool!  I’m HEARTBROKEN! <3 :(

    Comment by KidCatalyst on 2/02/10 at 11:57 am #
  172. Ok what happened with hersheys chocolate?! You mean when they changed the packaging on Kitkats, they changed the recipe??? No wonder I’ve been thinking they aren’t tasting like they used to!

    Oh, and good luck with it Kathy! They won’t take returns from what they told me on the phone. Let me know if you get the old ones! If not, go find a Dollar Tree!

    Comment by Heather on 2/02/10 at 2:11 pm #
  173. Oh, I forgot I had something else to say! Necco also messed up the wafers by taking out the green ones, which were my favorite! Luckily, my Safeway has the old ones clearanced out so I bought as many as I could, lol. Chocolate is the close second after the green ones. Speaking of chocolate, is Necco not making the chocolate hearts anymore? Not that it matters, I have a Ziploc bag full from last year! I don’t eat them very often, they’re very sweet.

    Comment by Heather on 2/02/10 at 2:14 pm #
  174. I picked up a bag (thinking “Oh, they changed the packaging”...i preferred the old package you could see though so i could choose the bag with the most of my favorite colors.  So, I was excited to finally get my FAVORITE candy of the year and popped a yellow and pink(my favorite flavors) in my mouth and about died!! WHAT???? I am soooo disappointed about the new flavors!  I too used to buy several bags at the end of the season so i was sure to have them for a few months….not anymore.  The classics have to return!!  I googled “Brachs” this morning….may have to order those in bulk. While i never liked Brachs as much, at least they are not the terrible flavors that Necco has switched to. I’ll continue looking in the Dollar Stores but i don’t hold out much hope. :(  So sad….and seemingly without warning!

    Comment by Jenn on 2/03/10 at 4:09 am #
  175. My wife loves the old hearts and hates the new flavors/texture.

    I went out to a Dollar Tree store last night and bought twenty-five 8oz. bags of the discontinued flavored hearts (@ $1.00 per bag, naturally). 

    I am all set with Valentine’s gifts this year.

    Comment by Neckoh on 2/03/10 at 4:18 am #
  176. I agree - I hoard the hearts before and after VD and have them in my freezer for my all year enjoyment - just tried a pack of the new ones (thought maybe just the packaging had changed) and yuck!!!  I will be tossing them!  Forced me over to Brach’s but I will now hit up the local Dollar General and Dollar Tree stores for my stash!  Thanks for the info.

    Comment by Sylvia on 2/03/10 at 4:21 am #
  177. Well, I saw the Twilight conversation hearts last night at Target. The bag was BLACK! I didn’t stop long enough to read them, but it looked like they had smaller bags of the candy inside the large bag. I guess this was so the kids that are now going to be the BIG fans, and eat tons of the hearts, could hand them out to their friends on Valentine’s Day.
    I really don’t see why they had to change the flavors to do this promotion.
    I have a feeling that Hague lady is the one that likes that series of books.
    How sad to see the hearts in a black bag.
    Sort of fits though.

    Leave a review on Amazon!

    Comment by Kathy on 2/03/10 at 5:15 am #
  178. The new flavors are terrible! I spit them out and am telling everyone not to buy!!!

    Comment by Mad on 2/03/10 at 7:27 am #
  179. I have been addicted to these little heart candies for years and ONLY the Necco brand, white was my favorite! So I bought some the other day at Target and noticed the colors had changed but didnt think much about it. Yesterday I opened the bag and tried them, very sad to notice that my favorite color was no longer in the bag, and they tasted NASTY, like little kids medicine! I am very disappointed!!!!

    Comment by Amanda on 2/03/10 at 7:31 am #
  180. I completely agree with everyone here, the new Sweethearts are DISGUSTING and I actually threw away an almost full bag.  I’m sooo disappointed in Necco, they ruined a classic and I will switch to Brach’s even though they aren’t that good, but they are WAY better than this.  I wonder if we can send this ENTIRE string of replies to Necco.  I would think 180 people would be enough to wake them up to their incredible mistake.  If they wanted new flavors, why didn’t they just make that in ADDITION to their previous flavors.  Kinda like you have the classic and then you have the “tart” or “sour” kinds.  I think that would boost their business more than this.  I’m done with Necco on ALL fronts.  It’s a shame.

    Comment by Emily on 2/03/10 at 9:00 am #
  181. Cybele's avatar

    Candy Warehouse has the original flavors in bulk boxes (yes, they mean BULK 32lb boxes).
    http://www.candywarehouse.com/heartsbulk.html

    Comment by Cybele on 2/03/10 at 12:14 pm #
  182. I just visited numerous stores asking what the hell is going on?  Sweethearts are my favorite seasonal candy of all time and I’m sorry but banana was my FAVORITE… and this might be a little embarrassing to admit to internet land and show how much of a dork I am but I actually dreamed of being proposed to with a giant collection of the “marry me” banana sweethearts.  and now my hopes and dreams are dashed… i thought for a moment i would buy one of the new bag but i wouldn’t even dare giving them even one purchase that would make these MORONS and yes Jackie Hague I mean you… If you converted your manufacturing plants to make all of these disgusting new flavors (Dazzled hearts in pink lemonade ?!?!?!?) you could have saved the cost and introduced new flavors not get rid of old ones… theres a big difference… ...
    I didn’t think I’d get so upset over this but i did… and i will now be writing a (slightly more thought out response to the company)...

    Comment by Lisa on 2/03/10 at 2:16 pm #
  183. The reason this is so hard to take is because it is almost like a DEATH. The feelings of loss and betrayal are very real.

    Comment by Teresa on 2/03/10 at 2:45 pm #
  184. YUCK! My husband and I tried the new Sweethearts and ended up tossing the bag! We DON’T like them at all and won’t buy them again. I did post a complaint at the NECCO site and will try my Dollar Store for the originals. *crossing fingers and toes in hopes they have them!*

    Comment by Janet on 2/03/10 at 5:13 pm #
  185. Just wanted to add that there is a “bite me” heart in the Twilight bag of Sweethearts. At least it’s pictured on the bag. I thought I read somewhere that Necco wouldn’t use the “bite me” heart.

    I wonder if the real head of Necco knows what they’re doing with the candy recipe? I was hoping he’s very old and would never go for these changes, but they’re keeping it from him. Just wishful thinking. Maybe I watch too many movies.

    Comment by Kathy on 2/03/10 at 5:15 pm #
  186. Cybele's avatar

    Kathy - I think there was a bit of confusion from an earlier article. They said that the Bite Me motto was just for the Twilight Sweethearts, they weren’t going to put it in the regular bags because it didn’t make sense out of context (but sounded either overly sexual or hostile). I think some people thought that meant that they pulled it altogether.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/03/10 at 5:34 pm #
  187. Hi Cybele,
    I had no idea which post it was in and I’m too lazy to go back through and read all of them. Thanks for clearing it up for me.
    BTW, I got my form letter from Necco this morning. I don’t think they really care what we think. They’re trying to get more people to buy them. I wonder if there was a drop in sales, or if they’re just trying to increase sales.

    Anyway, thanks again for letting me know about the “bite me” hears. grin

    Kathy

    Comment by Kathy on 2/04/10 at 6:10 am #
  188. Seriously.  I have been searching for Conversation Hearts but bought the Sweethearts only to now find out that they are one in the the same.  They have been replaced. I work for Coke and have worked for food co’s most of my life.  How could you take the overwhelming response you’ve gotten and stubbornly not react.  You have a golden opportunity - limited edition. Launch for St. Patrick’s day - the green and whites. Make a summer edition, holiday version.  People want the beauty of simple conversation - you are so retro it’s cool so why half heartedly modernize.  I told my publix, cvs and walgreens that they were disgusting.  Send me the old ones if you ever decide to listen.

    Comment by daniel White on 2/04/10 at 4:21 pm #
  189. There is an article about the marketing “genius” (you should read sarcasm here)behind all the changes with our beloved Sweethearts. The article appears in the magazine “Brandweek” which is a trade magazine for marketing professionals. Take a trip over there and leave a comment on their site. She may be shamed into reacting since the comments will be out there for all her peers to see!

    http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3ieea0d35bc59ea6b980fa7144a0299be8#2

    Comment by Joan on 2/04/10 at 4:51 pm #
  190. Join the save our Conversation Hearts on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=263418497909http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=263418497909

    Comment by Joan on 2/04/10 at 4:59 pm #
  191. My teenage daughter already thinks I’m a little nutty because I bought two dozen bags of hearts at the dollar store….  so we just had a good laugh over the 32 pound box of them!!

    Comment by LATaurus on 2/04/10 at 7:31 pm #
  192. I just bought 2 bags of Sweetheart conversation hearts and found these complaints before I ate any. I think I’ll give them away because I was really anticipating the taste I remember as a young child…...these don’t sound so good!!!!

    Comment by lhall on 2/05/10 at 9:11 am #
  193. I seriously thought for just about 5 seconds about buying the 32 pound box… but that just seems like overkill

    Comment by Georgia on 2/05/10 at 3:16 pm #
  194. I LOVE the new formula! I hated the old ones. So did my husband. The store where he bought some for me said they were swarmed with people who loved the new formula. I did like the ones they had before that were the tart version. I did not like the originals. They were so blah and tasted like chalk (and yes, I have tasted real chalk so this is a comparison from personal experience).

    Comment by Allie on 2/05/10 at 4:33 pm #
  195. After reading a few more of the comments here, I thought I should that I’m 36. smile

    Comment by Allie on 2/05/10 at 4:38 pm #
  196. I look forward to the Necco conversations hearts every year.  When I found out the product had changed I contacted Necco to complain.  Fortunately, I was able to find a dollar store in my area that has the original flavors and stockpiled.  I will NEVER eat the new flavors!!

    Comment by Mark on 2/06/10 at 4:23 am #
  197. The new sweethearts are absolutely disgusting. I want the old flavors backs. They’re too hard to bite and they feel disgusting to chew. The flavors are too strong and taste awful. I won’t be buying Sweethearts until I find the old kind.

    Comment by Rebecca on 2/06/10 at 4:56 am #
  198. Terrible! Please dont make these anymore. I buy bags of the old kind I will never buy another bag your candy unless you change it back. Disgusted!

    Comment by HC on 2/06/10 at 9:19 am #
  199. I have always been a big fan of the candy hearts, and the little Easter eggs.  We can’t pop either in our mouth without reading it first.  I was a bit confused with the ‘New Look’ on the bag and even further when I was looking pointedly for the NECCO name.  I can not abide ‘the other brand’.  I purchased 5 bags and opened one up in the car…YUCK!  They are horrid!  I returned all immediately and voiced my opinion to the clerk.  I have no doubt they will be sitting in the Valentine’s clearance cart in a couple of weeks.
    PS…...I love the yellow banana ones….smile!

    Comment by LH on 2/06/10 at 10:30 am #
  200. The new version is TERRIBLE!!!  I purchased a bag, I didn’t see the name NECCO but bought them anyway. I threw the bag in the trash after tasting only ONE! They don’t even smell the same!  NEECO NEEDS TO BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL FLAVORS!
    Dollar Tree here I come!

    Comment by Sophia on 2/06/10 at 10:41 am #
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