- This article is about the candy. For real fish in Sweden, see List of fish in Sweden.
In 1957, Malaco, a Swedish confectionery manufacturer, expanded its business by exporting a few of their products to North America. Various licorice ribbon and licorice lace candies were the first products to be exported. Malaco CEO Thor Fjørgerson called the move "a landmark day for Sweden/US relations." International trade experts hailed the move, as it allowed Malaco to extend its brand beyond the Scandinavian Peninsula.
Malaco's export trade grew and in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Swedish Fish and Swedish Berries were developed specifically for the North American market. Malaco was eventually acquired by Leaf International.
During the late 1960s, Swedish Shells were created. These were identical in composition, flavor, and color to the original Swedish Fish, but were in the shape of scalloped seashells and came in red (cherry), yellow (lemon), orange (orange), and green (lime). The Swedish Shells were the first color/shape expansion of the Swedish Fish line. They were sold by the Broadway Department Store chain from the late 1960s well into the 1970s. From the late 1970s until they were discontinued in the early 1990s, they were carried and sold by various bulk candy stores and candy specialty shops.
According to the USA distribution packages, the candy is made out of the following ingredients:
- Invert Sugar
- Corn syrup
- Modified corn starch
- Citric acid
- White Mineral Oil
- Artificial flavors
- Coloring (FD&C Red 40 for the red color)
- Carnauba wax
In Sweden, large amounts of confectionery are sold every year, and a substantial part of it is sold as pick and mix. Wine gums are sold in many different shapes, of which fish is just one. The Swedish Fish candy is marketed under the name "pastellfiskar", literally "pastel fish", and under the Malaco brand among others.
The North American variety of Swedish Fish can be found at Swedish IKEA stores under the original name.
In North America
The fish are distributed in the U.S. by Cadbury Adams USA in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, and are most commonly found in specialty candy stores in which they can be bought by the ounce. A recent resurgence in popularity has resulted in greater accessibility in supermarkets and convenience stores where they are often sold prepackaged in plastic bags.
Originally colored red with a flavor unique to the candy (often guessed to be lingonberry, but never verified), they are now also available in several different colors, such as Orange & Lemon-Lime. Purple Swedish Fish in grape flavor were discontinued in 2006. The fish come in two different sizes. Initially, the smaller fish came only in red; now fish of both sizes are available in all flavors.
According to American taste tests conducted by APG in 2012, green is lime flavored, the Bryce G. company has held several blind fold competitions to determine this fact.
"Aqua Life" is a certain style of Swedish Fish candy in the shape of sea animals. They are available in yellow (lemon) starfish, green (lime) whales, purple (grape) puffer fish, orange (orange) seahorses, and blue (blue raspberry) dolphins.