You know Valentine’s Day is near when grocery store shelves are lined with boxes of those cutesy, chalky confections known as Sweethearts.
Here are a few things that you may not know about those tiny bites of love:
• The first conversation hearts were created in 1866 when Daniel Chase devised a machine that would press food dye letters onto the candy lozenges made famous by his brother Oliver, founder of NECCO Wafers.
• Nearly 100,000 pounds of these iconic candy hearts are produced each day in preparation for Valentine’s Day. This is about 8 billion annually.
• Sweethearts make up 40 percent of the Valentine’s Day candy market.
• Ten new phrases are introduced each year, with social media terms recently added to the mix of messages.
• Individuals can order personalized candy hearts, but Jan. 22 is the cut-off for custom Valentine’s Day orders.