According to the USA distribution packages, the candy is made out of the following ingredients:
- Invert sugar
- Corn syrup
- Modified corn starch
- Citric acid
- Natural and artificial flavors
- White mineral oil
- Carnauba wax
- Red (Dye) #40
- Yellow (Dye) #6
- Yellow (Dye) #5
- Blue (Dye) #1
One of the ingredients in Swedish Fish is invert sugar, a combination of glucose and fructose. Invert sugar is important in Swedish Fish due to its ability to retain moisture.
Fructose has high solubility, therefore it holds more water and crystallizes less easily. This is why Swedish Fish have a very long shelf life and do not spoil easily.
Swedish Fish contain modified cornstarch which is used primarily to form its shape. It is utilized as a medium in trays when the product is put in them to be molded. In addition, white mineral oil is added to these trays to supplement the starch, prevent the candy from crumbling, and give it a shiny coating.
Citric acid gives the Swedish Fish an even longer shelf life.
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 fish shaped candies are also part of various Malaco bags of mixed candy. This candy bag has been sold for many years[vague] and is still a favorite among Swedes.
In North America
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The fish are distributed in the U.S. by Mondelēz International, and are most commonly found in specialty candy stores in which they can be bought by the ounce. The fish-shaped candy gained enough popularity on its own to where the Malaco, and later Cadbury, company had to do little advertising for the product, until this past decade. A recent resurgence in popularity has resulted in greater accessibility in supermarkets and convenience stores where they are often sold prepackaged in plastic bags. Building upon this resurgence, the company recently created "Giant Fish" television advertisements and a "Treadin' Water" YouTube mini-series, which follows the miscellaneous adventures of four friends and a Giant Swedish Fish sharing an apartment. The first few episodes of the mini-series were published onto YouTube on May 9th 2016.
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 a visit to the factory on the Food Network's show Unwrapped, green is not lime, but pineapple flavor, while yellow is a lemon-lime flavor.
Although well known and enjoyed across the US today, Swedish Fish only hit the US market in the mid 1900s. The original owner of these candies was a Swedish company called Malaco, which wanted to expand its retail to America. Wanting to create a product that reflected the culture of Sweden in some way, a fish-shaped gummy candy was created. Fishing was and is still a large part of Sweden's culture, and fish is a considerable part of the Swedish diet. Cadbury Adams distributes the candy in the US today, but the fish gummies are still distributed by Malaco in Sweden.
Trident, a gum company owned by Mondelez Global, LLC, carries a Swedish Fish flavor of their Trident Layers line, which is advertised as "Berry + Lemon" flavor (berry top and bottom, lemon in the middle).
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