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NECCO® Celebrates America's Love of Pets this Valentine's Day

1/10/2007 12:00:00 AM New Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts Are 'Purr Fect' to Help Celebrate Valentine's Day

REVERE, Mass.; (JANUARY 10, 2007) The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO®) has gone to the dogs (cats, goldfish and birds) this Valentine's Day season! The 2007 edition of Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts, an iconic part of Valentine's Day for more than 100 years, pays tribute to America's pet-loving ways with 10 new animal-inspired sayings, including 'Cool Cat,' 'Puppy Love,' and 'Take a Walk.' With the new sayings, NECCO®, the maker of Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, recognizes the wide variety of pets that are a part of 63 percent of U.S. households and the general love of animals around the world. The 10 new pet-friendly sayings include: 'My Pet,' 'Bear Hug,' 'Top Dog,' 'URA Tiger,' 'Go Fish,' 'Love Bird,' and 'Purr Fect.'

"Who hasn't told someone they are a 'Cool Cat' or given someone a 'Bear Hug?,'" said Lory Zimbalatti, NECCO's marketing manager and a member of the team that chose the new 2007 sayings. "The English language is full of animal and pet-inspired sayings we use to show we care. This year we decided to pay tribute with our new Sweethearts sayings." 

SWEET INSPIRATION
Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts are a historic part of Valentine's Day and each year, NECCO® continues to have its finger on the pulse of American trends when it comes to the company's new Sweethearts sayings. This year, the animal-inspired sayings reinforce the popularity of pets and animals across the country. According to a LIFE/AOL Pets Poll, Americans spent $36 billion in 2006 on pet products and services and 80 percent of dog owners have purchased a gift for their favorite furry friend. In addition, many singles looking for love, turn to animal lovers personals to share their interests in dogs, cats and other animals. 

SWEET HISTORY
Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts are fat-free and sodium-free and are one Valentine's treat that candy lovers young and old can enjoy without guilt. Small hearts have three calories and the large hearts have six calories, making it possible to entice one's sweetheart with a fun and romantic treat that's low in calories and has no fat. They are a perfect way for someone to delight their favorite pet lover with a sweet indulgence. 

While the Sweethearts sayings have a new twist each year, NECCO's basic recipe and the way they are made remains the same. The hearts are produced in two sizes: small and large. Approximately two words with four letters each can be stamped on the small hearts and two words with five letters each can be used on the large hearts.

The concept of Conversation Motto Hearts dates back to the late 1800's when printed sayings on colored paper were placed in 'Cockles,' small crisp candies formed in the shape of a scalloped shell. In 1866, Daniel Chase, brother of Oliver Chase, who founded NECCO® in 1847, invented the process, which allows the sayings to be printed directly on the candy. Some of the original sayings that are still included in the more than 100 sayings produced are 'Be Mine,' 'Be Good,' 'Be True,' 'Kiss Me,' and 'Sweet Talk.'

NECCO® is the oldest continuously run, multi-line candy company that produces classic candy like Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, NECCO® Wafers, Mary Jane® and Clark® bars. With more than 100 years of history, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts are the original and top-selling Valentine's Day treat. Each year, NECCO produces eight billion Sweethearts Conversation Hearts during the six weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. 

NECCO operates two plants that are located in Massachusetts and Wisconsin. These plants produce all the Sweethearts Conversation Hearts made year round to meet the huge demand for the traditional and top selling iconic Valentine's Day candy.