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Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts Inspire a "Menu of Love" with 2009 Messages Designed to Stir the Heart

1/14/2009 12:00:00 AM REVERE, Mass. — (JANUARY 14, 2009) — Valentine′s Day is considered the most romantic day of the year, and each year an estimated 660,000 people get engaged on February 14, according to BRIDE′S magazine. In addition, many of those memorable moments are made while enjoying a delicious meal, as one out of four Americans dine out on Valentine′s Day¹. With such sweet inspirations, the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO®) celebrates love and America′s passion for dreamy dinners by today unveiling its 2009 edition of Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts, themed Menu of Love.

"Sweethearts are America′s favorite Valentine′s Day treat and provide the perfect opportunity for people to exchange their feelings with the ones they love," said Jackie Hague, New England Confectionery Company Vice President. "Each year, NECCO introduces 10 new Sweethearts phrases that relate to current American trends and culture. For 2009, our Menu of Love sayings embrace the role that both romantic dinners and family dinners play in celebrating love."

The new Menu of Love Sweethearts messages offer a collection of 10 clever, food-inspired phrases, including "Recipe 4 Love," "Table 4 Two," "Stir My Heart," "My Treat," "Top Chef," "Sugar Pie," "Sweet Love," "Honey Bun," "Spice It Up," and "Yum Yum."

"It has often been said that the path to a loved one′s heart is through their palate," said Hague. "In recent years, dining has evolved into a romantic art form with Americans welcoming new ingredients, flavors and cooking methods into their cuisine. Without a doubt, Valentine′s Day is no exception and our new Menu of Love Sweethearts seek to tie-in with paramours′ penchant for sharing romantic dinners."

A SWEET INDULGENCE
There has always been one edible that is the international language of love, candy. According to the National Confectioners Association, approximately $1.09 billion worth of sweets are purchased for Valentine′s Day each year. As the top-selling iconic Valentine′s Day treat, more than eight billion Sweethearts, or about 100,000 pounds of the candy hearts, are produced every day. 

Sweethearts have been a Valentine tradition for more than a century. In fact, the concept of Conversation Motto Hearts dates back to the 1800s 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 phrases that are still included in the more than 100 sayings produced are "Be Mine," "Be Good," "Be True," "Kiss Me," and "Sweet Talk."

While the Sweethearts sayings have a new twist each year, the basic recipe for the tiny, brightly colored hearts remains the same. Sweethearts are produced in two sizes – the standard 1/2 inch and larger 3/4 inch versions. 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 larger hearts.

And, because Sweethearts are fat-free and sodium-free, they are one Valentine′s Day treat that candy lovers young and old can enjoy without guilt. Each small heart has three calories and the larger heart offers 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. 

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. 

About New England Confectionery Company
The New England Confectionery Company was founded in 1847 and is the longest-running multi-line candy company in the United States. Popular brands include: NECCO® Wafers, Clark® bar, Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts, Mary Jane®, Haviland® Thin Mints and Might Malts® Malted Milk Balls. More than 500 seasonal and year-round products are produced at the company′s headquarters in Revere, Mass.