Got Luv?

Here’s a quirky Valentine’s Day fact: There are more of those little candy Conversation Hearts in the world than people.

The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) produces eight billion Conversation Hearts for every Valentine’s Day. Brach’s makes about another billion. That’s nine billion candy hearts, each year.

Conversation Hearts outnumber the world’s population, which, incidentally, is projected to reach seven billion in 2012. In just six weeks all those candies sell out and once again the scales are tipped in favor of people (some of whom eat more hearts than others).

What I want to know is who is eating all those candies? They taste awful, which is no surprise seeing as how the ingredients are chalk, some sugar and more chalk held together with gelatin and mixed with a little artificial color and flavoring.

Still, on Valentine’s Day nothing says “I love you” like a Conversation Heart. Should you find yourself at a loss for words you can always try out one of the 100-plus sayings printed on the hearts.

Earlier versions, which must have been quite a bit bigger than today’s, had longer messages such as “Please send a lock of your hair by return mail,” and “How long shall I have to wait? Pray be considerate.” Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I’m partial to some of the newer sayings like “You Rock,” “Sup Babe?” and “Got Luv?” Not feeling the romance? How about “No Way,” “Get Real” or “LOL.” Ouch.

I realize this has absolutely nothing to do with photography, I just got curious when taking these photos and did some digging. I find it interesting that these little treats have been around since the early 1900s (which might explain the chalky taste and pasty texture), and that those timeless, sugary messages have been printed on candy hearts since 1866.

“Too Cool.”

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