Swedish Fish – A Brief History
“A Friend You Can Eat” – with a tagline like that, you can expect the history behind Swedish Fish to also be weird. For those who have been living under a rock, Swedish Fish are a gummy candy shaped like a fish. They are most famous for their red flavor, but they come in other colors too – like green, yellow, and orange.
What flavor is a Swedish Fish?
The red flavor has been long debated among candy lovers, as no one has ever confirmed its exact flavor. Many believe it to be lingonberry. The mystery only adds to the allure of the candy (if you ask me)!
They also come in two different sizes – a small and a regular. I personally like the regular sized ones as they are little bigger than your average candy. Instead of being “bite-size”, they are about two-bite size.
Why are they called Swedish Fish?
Honestly, the reason they are called Swedish Fish seems to be completely arbitrary.
When Malaco (the Swedish producer of these wine gums type candies) wanted to expand into North America, they picked a candied fish because to Sweden’s booming fishing industry. Importing these Swedish “fish” into the market of the 1950s added some cache and allure to the product. The rest is history.
The gimmick didn’t take long to take off either. They were almost immediately popular in the United States and Canada. By the 1960s and 70s, the candy grew into what we knew it as today.
Much of the marketing has gone unchanged since then. Though recently, the looks of the packages and bags were given a modern update. The ingredients and ‘Swedish’ message have stayed on the fish throughout. In fact, Swedish Fish are still made without gelatin, and are in fact a vegetarian/vegan candy! It’s another thing that makes these already delicious fish even better.
For me, Swedish Fish are a candy classic and one of the best movie snacks out there. They are one of the few candies that truly speak for themselves – no advertising needed. Plus we have Swedish Fish and Malaco to thank for all our animal-shaped candies! A ZOMG!