Love Hearts are manufactured by Swizzels Matlow in the United Kingdomand they are known as Sweet hearts in the US. They are hard, tablet-shaped sweets in a variety of fruit flavours featuring a short, love-related[message on one side of the sweet. They were an updated version of Victorian-era Conversation Lozenges.
Sensation in mouth
The sweets are suitable for either chewing or sucking. On chewing the sweet quickly disintegrates into a Powder , starchy consistency.
Love Hearts currently come in six flavours, each associated with a colour (listed from weakest to strongest flavour):
- White (a plain, sherbet-like, slightly tart vanilla flavour)
- Yellow (a sherbet-like flavour with a distinct sharp Lemon aftertaste)
- Green (a slightly Lime flavour with a sherbet-like aftertaste)
- Orange (a sweet flavour with a slight orange ( aftertaste)
- Purple (an unusual, slightly perfumed berry-like flavour with a strong aftertaste)
- Red (cherry flavour)
The sweets are small and circular, approximately 19mm, and 5mm in height (including the embossed decorations). Both sides are embossed with a decoration, the rear with a large outline of a Heart and the front with the message within an outline of a heart. On the front of the sweet the embossing is highlighted with a red colouring.
The main body of the sweet is coloured in one of the 6 colours: white, yellow, orange, green, purple or red. Especially for the darker red and purple colourings this colouring is somewhat blotchy.
There are many different messages which can be found on the front of the sweet, most of which are love-related. The message is written in Capitals in a sans serifo f varying size. The font is scaled and sometimes stretched out of proportion to fit the available space.
The clarity of the messages is sometimes compromised, as the sweets are of a somewhat crumbly consistency and are prone to chipping. This often removes small sections of the red highlight or small sections of letters, making some messages difficult to read. Some of the longer messages (with the smaller fonts) are also prone to flooding with the red highlight.
There are many messages (it is uncommon to find more than 3 repeats in a packet of 20). These include:
- All Yours
- Angel Face
- Bad Boy
- Be Good
- Be Happy
- Be Mine
- Be My Icon
- Be My Love
- Big One
- Bless You
- Blue Eyes
- Bonnie Lass
- Break Me
- Bye Bye
- Call Me
- Canny Lad
- Catch Me
- Chase Me
- Cheeky Boy
- Cheeky Girl
- Cool Dude
- Cool Kid
- Cuddle Me
- Cutie Pie
- Date Me
- Dear One
The messages have been updated many times, for example:
- Addition of phrases including modern technology - e.g. "Fax Me", "Email Me" and "Page Me".
- Addition of phrases in "SMS language" typical of SMS messages - e.g. "Luv U 24/7"
- Granny P
- Happy Harry
- Heart Baby
- Me Julie Best Mum
- Mermaid Eloise
- I Luv Alan
- Joyful Jo
- Juicy Jessie
- Kin of U Home
- Think Pink
- How r u
- Thumbs up
- Forever Together
- I want u
Love Hearts are packaged and typically sold in tubular packs of 20 (which are in turn boxed in packs of 50 for wholesale). The packaging is a clear plastic wrap (twisted at both ends) wrapped in a paper label. Alternative package sizes are available under special circumstances, such as the 2006 "silver love heart" competition, where the packet size was temporarily increased. Different sizes have also been released, including giant and small Love Hearts.
The label depicts the phrase "Love Hearts" bordered by two rows of stylised love hearts. It also carries a barcode, an ingredients list and the best before date. The sweets on the label currently carry the messages:
The colours of the sweets on the label do not correspond to the colours found within the packet:
- Label colours: white, yellow, peach (light orange), green and blue
- Actual colours: white, yellow, orange, green, purple and red
The shelf life (indicated by the best before date is very long – approximately a year and a half.
The packaging also demonstrates a consistent printing error: the small black spots to the left and right of the "Love Hearts" name are typical and consistent among many Love Hearts packets.
Production of Love Hearts began in 1954, 26 years after the formation of Swizzels Ltd. The company was initially in factory premises at Star Lane, Canning Town, London, moving later that year to the larger premises at Drivers Avenue, Plaistow, Newham, London. During the Blitz in 1940 production relocated to a disused textile mill in New Mills, Derbyshire, where it has stayed to this day.
Production of Love Hearts has changed little since 1933, although has become more mechanised and less labour intensive. The production is a pressed tablet method, similar to many pharmaceutical products (
- Granulated sugar is ground to a very fine powder.
- The sugar is separated into lines for each flavour of Love Heart.
- Colours, flavourings, and the other ingredients (all fine powders) are added and mixed.
- The mixture is fed into a tablet machine where it is compressed under high pressure into a tablet. This is the stage where the message is imprinted onto the front of the love heart, depending on the mould used for pressing.
- The highlights on the front are "painted".
- The different colours and flavours are randomly mixed, then packaged.
Sugar, Acidity Regulators: Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid; sodium bicarbonate, stearic acid, Modified starch, E470b, Anti-Caking Agent: Magnesium Carbonate; Flavourings, Colours: E100 (turmeric or curcumin), E104 (Quinoline Yellow WS), E110 (Sunset Yellow FCF), E122 (Azorubine), E124 (Ponceau 4R), E129 (Allura Red AC), E132 (Indigo carmine), Elderberry] Extract.
- Lyons, Teena (25 May 2008). "Love Hearts maker Swizzels Matlow keeps clients sweet". The Times. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/consumer_goods/article3998031.ece. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- Whittaker, Nicholas (1998). Sweet Talk: The Secret History of Confectionery. London: Orion Books.
- "ASDA Looks For Sweet Success With New Whatevers". Asda Stores Ltd. 26 April 2006. Archived from the original on 22 November 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20111122023611/http://your.asda.com/2006/4/26/asda-looks-for-sweet-success-with-new-whatevers. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- Haines, Lester (27 April 2006). "Asda launches chavved-up sweets for mingers: A rival to Lovehearts? Whatever". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/27/chav_sweets/. Retrieved 2 March 2014.