WITH LOVE in the air for Valentine's Day on Friday, we take a look into the history of a popular love message sweet.
This year is set to be the biggest yet for world-famous Love Hearts – the iconic sweet brand is celebrating a landmark its 60th anniversary.
Love Hearts were born in 1954 as the brainchild of Swizzels Matlow. The famous sweets are embossed with messages of love in a heart, in a circle – this shape is a registered trade mark.
The production of a Love Heart with indelible ink remains a secret and is unique to Swizzels Matlow.
Love Hearts began their life as party of a Swizzels Christmas cracker in 1954. They proved so popular that they were launched as a permanent line, and were originally sold for just two pence. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Love Hearts continued to grow in popularity and by the start of the 1980s their success was phenomenal.
By this point, Swizzels Matlow was making 1.5 billion Love Hearts each year – this amount would stretch 1.5 times around the world.
They were advertised on television, exported internationally and translated into several European languages. Love Hearts mania led to Swizzels Matlow becoming the most successful family-owned UK confectionery company.
Success continued into the 1990s and 2000s, with key landmarks including a visit from Princess Diana to the Love Hearts factory, the launch of Swizzels Matlow's first online store, where customers could buy personalised Love Hearts, and the evolution of the messages on the sweets to reflect the changing times – "Text Me" became extremely popular.
Nowadays, Love Hearts are a massive empire. In the last few years, high profile activity has included commemorative gift boxes to celebrate the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, special celebratory Love Hearts to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and a partnership with the biggest boy band in the world, One Direction, to launch a selection of themed Love Hearts containing messages specific to Liam, Harry, Louis, Zayn and Niall.
The Love Hearts factory is also known as the "Factory of Love", as 122 couples to date have met and found love there.
Sarah-Louise Heslop, Marketing Manager at Swizzels Matlow, said: "We are so thrilled to be celebrating such a huge milestone in the story of Love Hearts – 60 years is something to really be proud of – and we're sure that fans of our most popular and iconic creation will enjoy celebrating with us."
To kick off the celebration of 60 years of Love Hearts, this Valentine's Day sees a whole range of iconic themed products hit the shelves.
Love Hearts are the perfect way to express your affection for that special someone on the most romantic day of the year.
This year, the range includes a special Love Hearts Gift Tube, containing mini rolls of Love Hearts, and a special Love Hearts Gift Box – the ultimate Valentine's Day gift – filled with Mini Love Hearts Rolls.
A Love Hearts Mini Roll Bag is also available.
Sarah-Louise added: "It just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without receiving or buying a packet of classic Love Hearts, and our range this year really captures the nostalgia evoked by our sweets."