The Sour Dala Horses and Sour Vikings from the Candy People are pretty much the perfect gummy candy: sweet, tart, a soft, chewy texture, and with fruit flavors that actually taste like recognizable fruits. The candy easily stands on its own merits, but when you buy a bag of Sour Dala Horses or Vikings, they may taste even better if you know a little about the company. Candy People is family-owned. They use solar power and they are working to be carbon neutral. And best yet, they use natural fruit juices as the source of the bright flavors.
Joanis Masudi Youssef started The Candy People began in 1982 when he bought a candy store in Malmö in South of Sweden. It was a “ pick and mix “ store, which was a new format at the time. The Youssef family quickly grew Candy People from retail to wholesale. The company has grown from a single shop to a multi-national distributor of Swedish candies. The second and third generations of the family are now involved and they are expanding the company while minimizing its environmental impact. That includes the goal of making all the candy they distribute vegan.
Sweden is a good place to start a candy business. Swedes eat 35 pounds of candy each year according to the Swedish Department of Agriculture. This gives them the honor of the highest per capita candy consumption in the world. In the 1940s, the Swedish government encouraged parents to limit children to having candy only one day a week. The goal was to prevent cavities and improve overall health. However, policies often have unintended consequences and in this case, it was the development of the tradition of Lördagsgodis, or “Saturday Candy.” Saturday is the day where people of all ages go to store, take a bag and select their favorite candies for a day’s worth of consumption.
Kristin Knudson, who has studied in Sweden and is one of Ingebretsen’s knitting instructors, observed “Swedes do eat a lot of candy and ice cream. My theory is that because car ownership is rarer, and cities are more walkable, and public transit more widespread, Swedes exercise more and therefore can get away with more treats than we Americans! I am jealous.”
Kristin suggests that people should lobby for increased public transit, sidewalks, and bike lanes, touting the benefit of “then we can have more candy!” It would be one of the of the cheerier campaign messages that have ever been suggested and one that legislators have never heard before.
In the meantime, try a bag of the Sour Dalas or Vikings, available through mail order, 612.729.9333 or here, which doesn’t require any transportation choices on your part. Or, take the 21A bus, the light rail, or drive to 1601 East Lake Street. If you come for Saturday Candy, please remember we have off-street parking on 16th Avenue. Just look the sandwich-board sign with the Nordic flags.
The Candy People also sponsored this short film on the natural beauty of Sweden: