Saturday, February 28, 2009

When Swedish Fish Attack

Before today, I would have never thought it was possible to demonize Swedish Fish. To my surprise, I discovered the feat had been accomplished by none other than an accredited candy vendor in one of the least appealing sales pitches I have ever seen:

"These yummy fish swim upstream.... through saliva river! They would like to spawn in your tummy."

The imaginative people at "", operating out of Irwindale, California, are the proud authors of this gem. See the quote in its original context here. Perhaps someone at Candy Warehouse has watched the movie "Alien" one too many times. Thankfully, Swedish Fish are just so delicious that I'll be able to continue eating them without picturing my stomach being grossly violated as a breeding ground. Nice one, Candy Warehouse!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cadbury's Initial Response

Given that I didn't send a very lengthy message, my inquiry as to whether Cadbury had ever considered a blueberry Swedish Fish received a suitably quaint and uninformative response. Perhaps my question delved into confidential territory. Or, maybe it's just the kind of generic reply you would expect from a customer service department:

"February 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Pitre:

Thank you for contacting us with a suggestion you feel may be of interest to us. We always appreciate it when our customers are loyal enough to share their ideas and suggestions with us.

We enjoy hearing from you and are especially pleased to learn of your satisfaction. We will pass on your compliments to both our marketing department and our research and development department so they can be made aware of the great job they are doing!

We hope you continue to enjoy Swedish Fish products.


Consumer Relations"

I'm undecided as to whether the response is meaningful in any way. The thought of my compliments being passed on to anyone at Cadbury seems unrealistic. "Hey Bob, guess what? We've just discovered another consumer that loves our Swedish Fish!" Big deal, right? A behemoth like Cadbury thinks in terms of sales and potential sales, not the sentiments of a random consumer. However, being the number one candy confectioner in the world, one would think they'd at least have a clever way to interface with their customers--to involve them in the future of Swedish Fish. Confectioner Masterfoods, in the UK, had the right idea:

Consumers of the multi-flavored candy "Revels" were able to participate in an online game called Revels Eviction, in which each player could sentence their least favorite flavor to a variety of unfortunate demises. Data collected from the online game determined that coffee was the most unwanted flavor, so, for a limited time, coffee flavored Revels were replaced with strawberry Revels. If only it were that simple with Swedish Fish! Why is it that the consumer, being the foundation of any business, seems to have such a limited say?

The Voice of the Consumer

Swedish Fish Blue is about more than just candy. In our efforts to push this delicious new flavor beyond the realm of dreams and into stores worldwide, we'll find a crucial underlying question: just how powerful is the voice of the consumer? In the last few decades, we have witnessed the loss of many incredible snacks. Flavors that were undeniably scrumptious and addictive vanished inexplicably, leaving us with nothing but nostalgia. For many of us, our favorite candies, chips, cookies and crackers were more than just a guilty pleasure; they were elements of our favorite memories.

Take, for example, "For the Love of Fig Newtons", where childhood recollections of the once moist and succulent Fig Newton (now dry and tasteless) drive a man to discover whether any fig cookie can recreate the taste he once knew. Others have lamented the mysterious disappearance of the grape Swedish Fish, shown here.

Why do these beloved snacks often disappear and otherwise diminish in quality? Whatever the reason, it is time for the voice of the consumer to be heard and respected. Why shouldn't we be able to purchase the snacks we really want? If our collective voice is loud enough--if we are visible enough as a consumer group--perhaps we will be among the first to see a candy created by the power of popular demand. This is the ultimate goal of Swedish Fish Blue.

Readers, which of your favorite snacks are no longer in production? Let's reminisce in the comments section!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And So It Begins...

The most recent words out of my mouth were, "I can't believe I'm doing this." The idea of devoting myself so wholeheartedly to this concept completely unnerves me, just like the first day of school always did; a mix of excitement and fear. On a whim, I've dreamt up the notion of a blueberry-flavored Swedish fish. Now I'm asking friends and strangers alike for their serious opinion on the idea. How random is that? It's been a while since I've experienced such uncertainty, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, isn't uncertainty what makes a story exciting?

So, here we are at the beginning of Swedish Fish Blue. What you may be wondering is, "How does a person become so infatuated with the thought of a candy?" Well, as broke as I've been, I find the thought of most foods tantalizing. I could easily write a long list of the snacks I've been missing, but, for some reason, Swedish Fish dominate my mind as if it were an imaginary aquarium. There really is no substitute for Swedish Fish. Even the most avid Swedish Fish lovers have trouble describing the unique taste. Nothing else compares! If I'm making Swedish Fish sound like a rare delicacy, maybe it's because they're just that good!

In the 1970s, the Swedish Fish left their home in Sweden with confectioner Malaco and made their way to North America. Since their debut, Swedish Fish have become a legendary candy--their modern confectioner, Cadbury, claims that 7,000 metric tons of Swedish Fish are produced each year!

The original flavor is obviously a smash hit, but after all this time, I'm ready for something new--something blue--and not just blue raspberry flavored, but blueberry! I'm not sure how blueberries got mixed up in this. All I know is that from the moment I envisioned that beautiful deep blue Swedish Fish, I've been able to breathe in the blueberry scent and taste the mouthwatering flavor.

My first step in making blueberry Swedish Fish a reality is to gather together as many like-minded Swedish Fish lovers as possible! If you'd like to accompany me on this adventure, please follow this blog!