Your Flavor of Love


Laura Ockel

Sweethearts are a Valentine’s Day staple produced by NECCO.

Anya Behrns, Staff Writer

Since the first batch was produced over 150 years ago, Sweethearts made by American brand NECCO have become a Valentine’s Day staple with over eight million sold each year. 

As language has evolved and old sayings have grown stale, NECCO has adopted new mottos to their catalog of candy hearts every year since 1995, each year playing on a new theme. Although there are many ways to express one’s adoration for another, let’s look at a few of our favorite candy heart messages. What does your favorite candy heart theme to receive say about you?


With sweet nothings and “I ♡ YOU”s, you are a fan of the classics! Before NECCO began adding to their conversation hearts’ lexicon in the ‘90s, a large portion of mottos had been the same, lovey-dovey messages since the turn of the century: “KISS ME” and “BE TRUE.” If these sayings continue to touch your heart, you are a traditional, grounded person who most likely loves through words of affirmation or gift-giving! Traditions help to provide a person with structure and comfort. Participating in holiday rituals shows you love earnestly and non-ironically. 

Limitless Love
To celebrate the coming of 2001, the year’s Valentine’s mottos liberally paid homage to the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” through far-out “STAR DUST”s and “MOON BEAM”s. You likely enjoy your fair share of science fiction media or maybe just like space! Either way, you are a creative person who has their head in the stars. Your unique perspective on the world lends you to solve problems with more innovative approaches and people flock to you for the whimsical way you view the world. 

Animal Attraction
NECCO’s 2007 theme saw the emergence of animal-inspired hearts in “LOVE BIRD”s, “COOL CAT”s and “TOP DOG”s. If these sayings make you feel all fuzzy inside, you either enjoy sweet, innocent puppy love or would rather spend Valentine’s Day with your pet — most likely the latter, and for good reason! Researchers have found that spending time with pets helps heart rate and stress levels decrease. Therefore, people who own and spend time with pets tend to be healthier and happier both physically and mentally. You’re likely a happy person that people love to be around, both because of your attitude and your pet.

Words of Encouragement
The past few years have been rough for many and NECCO recognized this by embracing supportive and encouraging quotes for their 2022 batch instead of traditional love messages. If you embrace the positive mental outlook shared in hearts like “YOUDA BEST”, “U GOT THIS” or “FEAR LESS”, you are defined by your optimism! Your ability to look on the bright side of a situation and persevere makes you happier and more successful. As a Harvard study recently found, optimistic people may even live a longer life! Your view on life makes you a resilient and stable person your friends can rely on to cheer them up. 

User’s Choice
To you, life is better together! Instead of a traditional theme for their 2010 mottos, NECCO let voters decide which sayings were accepted, ending with the addition of still popular mottos like “ME + YOU” and “LOVEBUG”. You prefer collaboration to working alone and leading those around you to success through your methods. Teams that can work together well are shown to produce grander ideas through collaboration and altogether increase their productivity. You are great at organizing group efforts and people feel comfortable working with you. 

Not everything works on the first try — but you’re a fan of the rough draft! With new conversation hearts released each year, NECCO has cited successful mottos as non-offensive, tasteful and short, while retiring mottos that haven’t fit that criterion. But if you’re a fan of the morbid “TAKE ME TO THE CIRCUS” added after P.T. Barnum’s death, the dated “GROOVY” or the risqué “SAUCY BOY,” you’re funny and aren’t afraid to be different! Although you sometimes go slightly too far,  having a good sense of humor is correlated with higher emotional intelligence and is a trait others find desirable in friends and partners. You are beloved by those around you because of your uniqueness. 

If you don’t feel represented by any of these conversation heart themes, that’s alright too! Every person is unique and will receive, give and understand love differently. Spend your Valentine’s Day your way with the people you love and who love you — even if it’s not with a box of Sweethearts.