Sweetheart Conversation Hearts are an iconic symbol of Valentine's Day. First created by the New England Confectionery Company in 1902, Sweethearts are Necco Wafers cut in heart shapes and stamped with romantic messages. The recipe hasn't changed much since the early 20th century, but the messages are updated as popular vernacular evolves, and now include "Text Me" and "Tweet Me." Although Necco makes more than 8 billion hearts a year, some candy aficionados aren't impressed.
Complaints about Sweetheart's chalk-like texture abound throughout popular culture and the blogosphere. CPG scientists decided to characterize candy hearts to see if they deserve their chalky reputation. We examined the chemical composition, surface topography, flavor and odor of candy hearts, using SEM, EDS, and HS-GC-MS.
Not surprisingly, EDS analysis (see Figure 2) showed the candy consisted of carbon and oxygen, the two main elements in sugar (aside from hydrogen, which is not detectable by EDS). The spectrum showed a complete lack of calcium signal, indicating the absence of calcium carbonate (chalk) in the candy.
Read more in our Material Characterization of Candy Hearts application note.