After two years of stalled production, conversation hearts are back on top of this annual Valentine's Day candy report.
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Conversation hearts
Credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

When choosing candy for Valentine's Day, only so many options make sense. You typically go with something heart-shaped or something chocolate… because a box of Nerds or a Kermit the Frog Pez dispenser may not send the right message.

And so, two types of candy seem to shine on February 14: conversation hearts and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, at least according to CandyStore.com. This year, the bulk candy seller says that, after two years of being relegated to second place, conversation hearts have once again claimed the top spot as Valentine's Day's top-selling candy.

CandyStore.com has been releasing its data on Valentine's Day candy sales for years, and through 2018, conversation hearts — the heart-shaped candies with little messages on them — had the highest percentage of total Valentine's Day candy sales. But that same year, Necco — maker of Sweethearts, the best-selling conversation heart brand — went out of business, leading to shortages in 2019 and 2020.

Top Valentine's Day candy
Credit: Courtesy of CandyStore.com

That was apparently chocolates' chance to pounce, and for those two years, the heart-shaped boxes beat out the heart-shaped candies.

But with Sweethearts' new owner Spangler getting production back to full capacity, CandyStore.com says the brand's return has helped propel overall conversation heart sales up nearly 3 percentage points from its 2018 low (other brands like Brach's also make conversation hearts), once again making them #1 in America's heart.

However, CandyStore.com also breaks down the state-by-state data, and there, things look a bit different. Yes, 12 states favor conversation hearts (Alaska, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin) and 16 states plus Washington, D.C. go with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates (Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington). But other choices also emerge.

Top Valentine's Day candy
Credit: Courtesy of CandyStore.com

Nine states favored M&M's (Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont). Five states were led by Hershey's Kisses (Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah). And then things got more far out there: Maine, Montana, and Rhode Island had chocolate hearts as their top seller; Kentucky and Wyoming went with chocolate roses; Nebraska and West Virginia were big on Cupid Corn, and Alabama's sales were topped by candy necklaces. (Is that a thing in Alabama or is it just a fluke in the data?)

All these results just go to show that your Valentine's Day treats can be as personal a choice as who you choose to share them with.