KANSAS CITY – Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $23.9 billion in 2022, up from $21.8 billion in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Washington. Food and beverage product developers are trying to capture their share of the heart-shaped pie.

“Following the historic level of consumer spending over the winter holidays, it appears that the trend will continue into 2022,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF. “Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for many Americans, even more so as we navigate out of the pandemic, and retailers are prepared to help them mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way.”

A survey conducted by the NRF showed 53% of US consumers plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and 76% of those celebrating indicated it is important to do so given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Candy, greeting cards and flowers remain the most popular gift items.

Food and beverage product developers are trying to add seasonal sales by bringing limited-edition heart-shaped cakes, donuts, pizzas and chicken nuggets to market. Others are introducing chocolate puzzles and Valentine’s Day-themed snack cakes.

Click the slideshow to see some of the latest Valentine’s Day innovations.