Growing up, I always thought of Valentine's Day as the second best candy-based (apologies to Easter) behind Halloween. This was partly because of the wide variety of candy available for the holiday. All a candy maker had to do was make their candy (or it's packaging) heart shaped or color it pink and we were all set.

This year, however, candy lovers are learning the difficult lesson that sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone. If you've already been searching shelves for candy to give to your significant other or your children, you may have noticed the absence of one holiday staple: Sweethearts, the conversation heart candy.

A recently published study by tracked Valentine's Day candy sales over the past 11 years and showed that conversation hearts finally overtook boxed chocolate for the top spot in 2018. The report even includes a state-by-state sales breakdown, and the report shows that not only was the candy North Dakota's most popular, but it was the for our neighbors Minnesota and Montana as well.

So if the candy is so popular, why won't you find it on shelves this year?

Turns out Sweetheart's fate was sealed last year when it's producer, New England Confectionary Company (more commonly known as Necco), went out of business and was sold to Round Hill Investments as part of an auction. They in turn sold the part of the brand responsible for both Necco wafers and Sweethearts to Spangler Candy Company just a few months later.

With all of the turnover, which included the closing of the plant where candy was made, there simply was no way to organize the production of the candy, making 2019 the first Valentine's Day since the creation of the candy in 1901 that Sweethearts will be unavailable to consumers.

But fear not! Spangler announced it intends to bring the candy back in 2020. But until then, you're going to have to find some other way to ask your crush "Be Mine."

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