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Valentines Day: The History of Love Hearts

13/02/2020 07:30

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, we thought there’s no better time to take a look back over the 60-year history of the famous Love Heart sweets by Swizzels, that has become an iconic symbol of this generation.

Over the years, Love Hearts sale has soared and now, the confectionary company makes and sells over 1.75 billion packets every single year.

Love Hearts was initially established back in 1954; 20 years after the founding of ‘Swizzels’ and since then, the sweet has been used as a symbol to send romantic messages to loved ones.

The Swizzels company initially starting production at Star Lane, Canning Town in London before moving to a larger premise of Driver’s Avenue, Plaistow, London. To escape the Blitz at the beginning of the 1940s, the company moved to a vacant textile factory in Derbyshire, where it remains to this day.

Despite the sweet being in production for 60 years, not a single person outside of the factory knows the secret of how they’re made or how they’re embossed with edible ink to create their message.


If you’re familiar with the famous sweet, you’ll know that some of the most iconic phrases include “I love you”; “Kiss Me”, “First Love” and “All Mine”, however, they have been changed over the years to fit in with the trends of the younger generation and to acknowledge special occasions in society.

This iconic sweet started off with very humble beginnings. Love Hearts were initially used as a seasonal gift within the Swizzels Christmas cracker over the festive period, as a fun way to express feelings to their loved ones. The crackers were even given an extra personal touch as they were each delicately hand-painted.

At this stage, Love Heart sweets weren’t sold in general stores, but due to their well-received response in the Christmas cracker, a decision was made to continue production.

The sweets became popular with kids during the ’60s when Love Hearts were attached to popular comics including the likes of Beano and Dandy. 10 years later as a result of the hippy movement, Love Hearts jumped on the bandwagon and introduced an alternative version of the sweet, known as ‘Hippy Bits’. Instead of being embossed with the romantic quotes they became associated with, they were decorated with phrases such as as ‘Zen’, ’Power’ and ‘Groovy’.

It was during the 1980s that Love Hearts made its way overseas and were sold to a whole new audience. This allowed them to become a global name. Due to their popularity, the Love Heart messages have also been translated into an array of languages, including French and German, to name just a few.

The 1990s was the decade in which Love Hearts began commemorating royal events after Princess Diana visited the Swizzels factory on 14th June 1991. The company later released a special edition version of Love Hearts to celebrate the princess’ visit.

During this decade, the company felt the need to keep up with the modern trends and had a re-think on the messages that had been stamped on the sweets for over 40 years. To keep in touch with the younger generation, they instead used common slang phrases such as “Text Me” “Fax Me” and “Luv Me 24/7”. Just a few years on, some of these phrases were abandoned once the likes of fax machines were no longer commonly used.

To mark the year 2000, Love Hearts was given the honour of their very own statue in the Millennium Dome; as it was considered to be one of the most iconic symbols of the era. Just 3 years later, the Swizzels brand released another special edition pack of the famous Love Heart, to celebrate Prince William’s 21st birthday.


2011 was another busy year for the company. Yet another special edition pack of Love Hearts was released to commemorate footballer Wayne Rooney’s wedding to wife-to-be, Colleen. It was in the same year that Swizzels was quoted ‘the factory of love’ after the news was released that 122 employees both past and present had met their true love while working in the factory.

After commemorating many royal celebrations over the years, it was only natural for Swizzels to pay tribute to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Some of the messages stamped on the sweets included ‘I love Corgis’, ‘Congrats Ma’am’ and ‘Jubilee 2012’. The following year, another royal limited-edition version was introduced to acknowledge the birth of Prince George.

In 2014, Love Hearts celebrated its 60th anniversary and to mark the occasion, Swizzels gave fans around the world the opportunity to create their very own Love Heart. Some of the chosen messages in this range included ‘Skype Me’, ‘Tweet Me’ and ‘Take a Selfie’.

It’s fair to say that although Love Hearts is one of the most popular sweets of all time, the romantic spirit of the sweets means that sales further rocket in the run-up to Valentine’s day. So, why not treat your loved one a gift set or even wholesale pack of Love Hearts from Appleton Sweets?

Posted By Matt Appleton
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