Are Swedish Fish Actually Swedish?May 12, 2017
Here at Umgås magazine, we cover all things Swedish-American – food, movies, music, businesses… and candy. So, the bright-red, gummy fish with “Swedish” on the side seemed right up our alley.
Swedish Fish are loved by most. They’re the kind of candy that you can eat an entire bag in one sitting, but how Swedish are these little fellas? Are they Swedish at all?
The Swedish Fish website has a link to its “fish story,” which one would assume details the candy’s rich history as a Swedish-American confection, but alas, it was unbelievably unhelpful. We were able to determine that they have been around “a long time.
While the Swedish Fish site answered few of our questions, according to Mental Floss, Swedish Fish originated in the 1950s from Swedish candy maker Malaco (now owned by Cloetta). Malaco was looking to expand to the United States, and it wanted a candy representative of its Swedish background. It went with fish because of Sweden’s booming fishing industry, and with little to no advertising, the United States at it up (literally).
Today, the Swedish Fish Americans consume are made in Canada and distributed by Mondelēz International. In Sweden, the candy called pastellfiskar still is sold through Malaco, but with an additional flavor – salty licorice.
The classic “red” flavor of Swedish Fish has taken to other markets. In 2013, Rita’s Italian Ice launched a flavor based on the fruity fish, and more recently, Oreo released a limited edition cookie with a Swedish Fish flavored filling. (Editor’s note: When these came out, we bought them for the office to sample. Normally office sweets barely make it to the table before they are consumed, but weeks later, there they sat.)
While the Swedish Fish candy may not be entirely Swedish, the brand was inspired by Sweden and created by a Swedish company. At the end of the day, as long as they don’t taste like fish, all is good.