Sixty percent of consumers prefer receiving classic heart-shaped chocolate boxes for Valentine’s Day, while 40% prefer conversation hearts, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA).
Of consumers planning to share conversation hearts with loved ones, 52% opt for sweet and heartfelt messages, 28% prefer a touch of humor and 20% go for a hit of sarcasm, according NCA.
This year, Sweethearts is leaning into dating trends with a limited-edition release of Situationship Boxes. The specially designed boxes contain blurry, misprinted candies that are as hard to read as Gen-Z relationships.
The word “situationship” recently ranked in the top four terms considered for the Oxford University Press' 2023 “Word of the Year.” Hence the Situationship Box from Sweethearts, filled entirely with sweet, muddled nothings and literal mixed messages.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, situationships are romantic entanglements where the participants haven't established the nature of their relationship. From a relationship with “that one person you meet up with whenever they happen to be in town” to “your go-to 'plus one' for couple-y events,” situationships have no labels, exclusivity or boundaries.
“Singles are taking 'situationships' to the next level this year, and Sweethearts is here for them,” said Evan Brock, vice president of marketing for Bryan, Ohio-based Spangler Candy Co., which owns Sweethearts. “The printing on Sweethearts isn't always perfect. This is our way of embracing those imperfections in a way that taps into pop culture.”
Click through to find out about new and returning Valentine’s Day treats …
New this year, Mars launched Dove Promises Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Swirl candies for Valentine’s Day.
The Chicago-based company is also offering Dove Milk and Dark Chocolate Hearts; M&M's Mini Tubes; M&M's Novelty Heart Toppers; red and purple Lifesavers Wild Berry Gummies X's and O's; and red, pink and white M&M'S Milk Chocolate and Peanut Cupid Blends.
“Data shows that Dove is the No. 1 Mars Wrigley's brand for Valentine's Day, and chocolate strawberry was the No. 1 most desired flavor,” said Tim LeBel, president of sales at Mars Wrigley. “Whether gifting chocolate and candy to others or treating yourself, we've crafted a line-up of fun and delicious offerings to celebrate the season. Valentine's Day is a special occasion to create moments of happiness with friends and loved ones—like with our new Dove Promises Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Swirl.”
Hershey, Hershey, Pensylvannia, unveiled new Hershey's Kisses Milk Chocolates with Snoopy and Friends Foils, which feature the Peanuts characters on 18 unique pink and red foils. The candy is available for a limited time only in 9.5-ounce bags and 6.5-ounce heart boxes. Cadbury Caramello Miniatures (7.5-ounce bags) and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Giant Heart Box (28.8-ounce boxes) are also new this season.
Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Flavored candies (9-ounce bags) and Hershey's Milk Chocolate Hearts King-Sized Bar (2.5-ounce king size) are returning to shelves.
This season, Brach’s, Chicago, is introducing its Mellowcreme Roses candy. Each pack of rose-shaped candy comes in three flavors: Frosted Sugar Cookie, Strawberry Cupcake and Valentine's Day Party Punch.
Friends Conversation Hearts are also returning for a second year, featuring Friends references and a blend of flavors including Watermelon, Strawberry, Blueberry, Pineapple, Cherry and Orange.
Hostess is bringing back Valentine Ding Dongs, Strawberry Cheesecake-Flavored Baby Bundts and Frosted Strawberry Flavored Donettes.
The returning snacks are available at convenience stores in single-serve packages. Hostess is a J.M. Smucker Co. based in Lenexa, Kansas.
McKee Foods, Collegedale, Tennessee, launched Little Debbie Vanilla Mini Donuts, which are coated in light pink frosting and a white icing pattern. It's also launching Big Pack Valentine Cakes, individually-wrapped heart shaped cakes with pink and white frosting.
In addition to the new treats, Little Debbie is unveiling fresh packaging graphics across the Valentine's Day lineup. The new designs showcase a light teal backgrounds and pink paper cutout hearts.
Ferrero is rolling out a new Kinder Bueno 4-Count Pack, which contains four individually wrapped milk chocolate bars. Also new to the lineup is 6-count Kinder Chocolate Hollow Bears, which are individually wrapped milk chocolate bears in Valentine's Day packaging.
The Chicago-based brand is bringing back Ferrero Rocher 24-Piece Heart Box, Ferrero Collection 24-Piece Heart Box, Fannie May Chocolate Assortment Heart, Mother's Puppy Love Cookies (shortbread cookies shaped like X’s, O’s and puppies, with pink and white frosting and sprinkles) and Assorted Shareable Heart from Crunch and Butterfinger.