What Country Do Swedish Fish Come From?
As a foodie, going food shopping is as exciting for me as looking for a wedding dress. In fact, I probably put more thought into what food I buy than I will put into my wedding’s flower arrangements (don’t worry — my mom is better at that type of thing anyway).
So, naturally, when I returned home for Spring Break, I made four trips to Wegmans, my favorite supermarket ever. On my last trip, I wandered through the candy isle: children squealed, tots devilishly reached their hands into no-sampling bulk candy bins, and I sought to control the urge to acquire every single confectionary option
Knowing I would be watching a movie later that night, I settled on an old classic: Swedish Fish. I feel like Swedish Fish are one of the most irresistible candies — right up there with Gummie Bears and Sour Patch Kids — no movie experience is complete without them, and you can never just eat one.
And maybe I’m just a little dim, but I was seriously surprised to find out that these delicacies actually come from Sweden! What with Sweden having a very large fish industry, it’s only natural that they would try to exploit the commodity as much as possible. Yeah, I guess it’s pretty obvious, but it never even crossed my mind.
Swedish Fish were born in the Malaco candy company in Sweden while the business was looking for a profitable market in North America. They found it. In 1958, Malaco exported assorted licorice candies to the target location. Then, in 1960, Swedish Fish came to life. The candy, specifically designed for Canadian and United States’ markets, came in the shape of a fish, dyed red, with “Swedish” written on the body. They are a “wine gum” (relax, they don’t have an alcohol content) and thus contain no gelatin, granting them vegetarian status.
We embraced the candy immediately and it grew in popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Cadbury Adams, located in Parsippany, New Jersey, owns and distributes Swedish Fish in the United States. You can still get just the classic red — which I highly recommend — or you could go for a pack of new “exciting” colors like purple, orange, yellow, and green.
In Sweden, Malaco still owns Swedish Fish. Swedes call them “pastellfiskar,” or “pale-colored fish.” Malaco also makes its own fun color: black; I guess it’s kind of gloomy actually. The ebony fish is licorice, a popular flavor in Sweden.
Not only can Swedes make delicious candy, they also know how to campaign. My absolute favorite part of my Swedish Fish research is the TV advertising. One commercial involves a man making a live kitty and mayo sandwich and goes to take a bite when a massive Swedish Fish shows up at his door. The rest involves the man’s dilemma between eating his sandwich or the somewhat frightening massive gummie that keeps saying “ja.” I think he salvages the kitten.
Well, I know that I would choose the delicious candy over the live animal, but that’s just me. Swedish Fish are the perfect snack with their gummy texture, sweet flavor, and fun design. And, now that I know its origins, I will dutifully pay my respects to any Swede I might happen to meet in the future.
Posted in AU Gourmet