When you’re shopping for your honey in the coming days, you’ll be sure to see the bright red, heart-shaped boxes full of chocolates and other goodies on the store shelf. It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without them, right? Coming from the paperboard packaging industry, these heart boxes are certainly near and dear to our hearts. But how exactly did they come about?
Surprise! The heart-shaped box wasn’t invented by a swooning lover. Actually, it was a really smart marketing idea. Our industry knows just how well paperboard packaging can help to sell products,and so did Richard Cadbury, of the famed chocolate company, who created the first Valentine’s Day heart box.
Rewind to mid-nineteenth century England. By this time, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day was in full swing, and it was common practice for Cupid-struck Victorians to shower each other with gifts for the romantic holiday.
It just so happened that Richard Cadbury found himself in a position to take advantage of this cultural phenomenon. The chocolate company had recently improved its process for making drinking chocolate, and as a result, had excess cocoa butter that could be made into more varieties of what was called “eating chocolate” at the time. What better way to market the company’s new chocolates for Valentine’s Day than with a heart-shaped box? So he made it happen, handcrafting the first of the boxes we know so well today. These original Victorian package designs, adorned with images of roses and cupids, are sought out by collectors today.