28 Sep
Sweet Sentiments: How Love Hearts Became a Symbol of Affection

Love Hearts are a popular, circular retro fizzy sweet with a heart-shaped outdent on top. Each sweet contains a romantic or sometimes cheeky message printed within the heart. Many people have fond childhood memories of sharing their messages with friends and potential partners in the school playground. 

But Love Hearts are more than just candy; they have become an enduring symbol of affection and romance, making them a beloved and iconic treat in the UK and beyond. 

Tube of Swizzels Love Hearts with loose sweets and romantic pink background

Who makes Love Hearts?

Love Hearts are a British sweet manufactured by Swizzels Matlow in Derbyshire, England, UK. They were introduced in 1954 with the name "Sweet Hearts", and made available in cylindrical rolls, which are still popular today. However, their true origin lies in the Victorian era, and they are based on conversation lozenges from this period, which were invented by Joseph Dobson, who sold them in his Yorkshire shop, which was established in 1850.

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Can you still buy Love Hearts?

Certainly! Swizzels Love Hearts are available in standard rolls (containing 20 sweets), mini rolls and also sharing bags. Swizzels also make Giant Love Hearts which are a larger version (obviously!), which also are available in rolls. Love Hearts Lipsticks are also manufactured by Swizzels and come with the tag line "Lip smackin' candy lipsticks" - these come in a white plastic casing. Some companies sell the mini rolls in a gift jar, such as Berrymans.


Love Hearts are also commonly referred to as "Message Hearts" due to the messages printed on them. These messages are meant to convey sentiments of love and friendship. Love Hearts feature a wide range of simple two-worded messages. Message of affection include "Love You", "True Lips", "First Love", "My Angel", "Say Yes", "Hold Me" and "Kiss Me". 

Some of the sweets contain a cheeky message such as "Grow Up", "Cheeky Boy" and "Cheeky Girl".

Today's version also contain more modern phrases like "Text Me" and "Email Me." The messages change periodically to stay current with language trends.


Love Hearts are very versatile and have a wide range of uses;

Valentine's Day: Love Hearts are a popular treat for Valentine's Day in the UK and are often used in romantic gestures and gifts.

Weddings: The sweet is a popular choice at weddings, particularly in the UK, as wedding favours or table decorations, due to their romantic messages.

Children's Parties: the candy is a popular choice for little girls parties, and are often included in party favour bags.

Vintage Collectibles: Some people collect vintage Love Hearts rolls, which can be found with older, now-retired messages. These are considered collectible items.

Film and Pop Culture: Love Hearts have made appearances in various films, TV shows, and popular culture references, often as symbols of love and nostalgia.

Colours and flavours

Love Hearts come in six pastel colours and flavours;

White (vanilla)
Yellow (lemon)
Green (lime)
Orange (orange)
Purple (parma-violet)
Red (cherry) 

The taste of each sweet is slightly tart and fizzy, and they have a hard, chalky texture.

Limited Editions

Swizzels occasionally release special edition Love Hearts with messages related to specific occasions, such as Christmas or Halloween. More recently, a Limited Edition Emojis version was made available, reflecting the popularity of the use of emojis online. Limited-edition Love Hearts have been released to mark special events or anniversaries for the brand.

Love Hearts Lipstick Candy, container and loose

Love Hearts Lipstick

Also available are candy lipsticks, which look like cosmetic lipstick but are edible and contain the flavours and colours of Love Hearts. These also make excellent party favours at kids birthday parties, and will also make the parents feel nostalgic, as they remember them from their own childhood. I certainly remember candy lipstick being around in the 1970s.

Personalised Love Hearts

Some companies offer personalised Love Hearts with custom messages for weddings, birthdays, or other special events. C. S. Printing offer mini rolls with a personalised label such as "Just Married, Mr & Mrs Smith" on their Amazon storefront.

Ingredients and dietary information

The main ingredients in Love Hearts include sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, and magnesium stearate. They are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten-free.

List of ingredients; Sugar, Acidity Regulators: Malic Acid, Stearic Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Modified Starch, Magnesium Stearate, Anti-Caking Agent: Magnesium Carbonate, Flavourings, Colours: Anthocyanin, Beetroot Red, Copper Chlorophyllin, Lutein, Paprika Extract.

Swizzels Love Hearts wrapper from the 1970s. Red text with green and yellow background

Wrapper from the 1970s

Swizzels Love Hearts Limited Edition, silver coloured tin

Swizzels Love Hearts Limited Edition Gift Tin (2023)

I hope you have enjoyed reading about how Love Hearts became a symbol of affection. You may also like The Godly History of Flying Saucer Sweets.

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