Britain is in the throes of a retro sweet revival. It’s something I’ve been quietly aware of for a while. From drumstick lollipops to Love Hearts at the tills at Topshop, Swizzels know we just can’t resist their sweets in the same retro packaging we all remember
So why are we so fond of retro sweets? Is it just because it reminds us of our childhood? I don’t overly have a sweet tooth these days…but if Love Hearts are on offer, I struggle to walk by the tills without buying a packet. Anyone else? Today it seems to be 1980’s sweets that are topping the popularity charts. Is that because they look, smell and taste as much like the original sweet we all remember?
These vintage classic sweets conjure up wonderfully nostalgic memories of trips to the sweetshop. For me, back in the early 80's, we used to visit a tiny sweet shop after school. In fact, it was barely ever open. It would stop us in our tracks if it was open. "MUM....stop the car!" we would yell from the back seats.
The owner of the tiny sweet shop was profoundly deaf. The bell would ring loudly as we opened the door but he would still take him ages to appear from behind the shop front. We would wait patiently for minutes (it felt like hours) before he would make an appearance. Hand on heart – we never stole anything. We just waited.
When he was eventually behind the counter he asked us in turn what we wanted. I was after a packet of love hearts, a wham bar and a quarter bag of lemon bon bons for my mum (at her request - while she waited in the car). My younger brother was after a packet of nerds and a mars bar. Each sweet shop has its own story; its own place in history. I wish I had bothered to find out the shop owners name. I feel bad now that I don’t know.
Those memories of the tiny sweet shop will live on in the same way the love for retro sweets have made a comeback. Whether it is to relive those school days or simply because of the lip-smacking taste, the demand for classic sweets are big business.
When I was recently contacted by Swizzels, I found myself googling the history of their organisation. Maybe that’s the nerd in me (excuse the pun). Swizzels is the UK's largest family-owned independent sugar confectionery business and one of the few confectionery companies to still manufacture sweets in the UK. Swizzels WAS my childhood.
The business had humble beginnings back in the early 1920s at a market stall in Hackney, London, with Maurice and Alfred Matlow selling jellied sweets. In 1940, the Blitz forced their business to relocate northwards to a disused wick factory in New Mills, Derbyshire, where it remains. Parma Violets were introduced in 1946 and Love Hearts were introduced in 1954. Today, they produce a range of popular products including New Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Rainbow Drops, Double Lollies and Fruity Pops. In today’s world. Swizzels Matlow exports 20 per cent of its sweets to more than 20 countries. One of their highest selling brands are Love Hearts and it might not be a surprise that their biggest sales period is Halloween.
When it comes to Love Hearts, they remain undeniably cute and delicious, an outstanding retro sweet in my opinion. Even now, I genuinely can’t resist picking up a packet. When I was a child, Love Hearts felt like the classic Valentine gift. Gosh, I just hoped I could give that special person the one that said, ‘hug me’ or ‘be mine’. However, I was reading in a news article how things have moved on. In 2014, a new range of messages was chosen as part of a competition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Love Hearts. Did you notice? I know…big news!
Swizzels ran a competition asking for new designs to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Love Hearts, with the winning contemporary messages to be stamped on their famous sweets for the first time ever. Aswell as keeping some of the much-loved traditional phrases, new messages now include, 'Skype me', 'Take a selfie', 'Tweet me', ‘'Totes hilar' and 'Yolo'. What the heck is Yolo?
On a closing note, I hope our next generation will enjoy the nostalgia of Love Hearts as much as we do. Share the love Guilty Mothers...
Swizzels have launched two new products which you can find out about here:-
Love Hearts Personalised Birthday Rolls -
Love Hearts Personalised Gender party reveal rolls -
Find lots more on the Swizzels shop
This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Swizzels but all content and opinions are my own.