How Swedish Fish got their name

I brought a bag of Swedish Fish to the Patriots final regular season game two weeks ago. New England was playing the Miami Dolphins, and the symbolism behind eating fish while the Patriots pummeled the Dolphins appealed to me. We dined on mahi mahi (commonly known as the dolphin fish) in the parking lot prior to the game for similar reasons.

Swedish Fish

In discussing how my strategic consumption of the Swedish Fish undoubtedly contributed to the Patriots’ victory, a friend contended that the candy was so named because the words Swedish and fish rhyme.

I did not think the words Swedish and fish rhymed well enough to warrant the name choice and claimed that there was probably some amusing, anecdotal reason for the name.

So I looked it up.

Turns out that Swedish Fish are so named because they are made by a Swedish company named Malaco and exported to the United States.

Swedish Fish are actually Swedish. Not only that, but they are first generation Swedish, each one coming right off the boat.


Swedish Fish therefore appears to be an apropos name, but still, it seems a little odd. Right?

Imagine if your Toyota Corolla was named Japanese car.

Or your bottle of Guinness was called Irish Beer.

Of if Coco-Cola was called Empty American Calories.

Did the marketers at Malaco really believe that it was the Swedish aspect of their candied fish that they should promote the most?

It’s hard to imagine a group of marketing executives making this decision, but apparently it happened.

Best of all, in Sweden, Swedish Fish is marketed under the name pastellfiskar, which translates to pastel colored fishes.

At least the company is consistent in its odd naming of products.