Photo: Santa Maria
 

Since being coined as an expression as part of an advertising campaign for OLW crisps in the 1990s, the Swedish practice of “fredagsmys”, or cosy Friday, has become something of a national treasure. These days, most Swedes swear by the concept, which is synonymous with staying home and snuggling on Friday nights, and is closely related to the Danish notion of “hygge”.

A respectable cosy Friday is made up of a number of crucial features: Pre-requisites include a comfy sofa, fluffy clothes, friends and family, board games, and something good to watch on TV. And then there’s the food: crisps, pick’n’mix, cheese puffs, pizza, and last but not least, the all-important tacos, combine to make this every Swede’s favourite day of the week.

Here are 10 of the most popular foods to include in your next cosy Friday:

 

Taco kit by Santa Maria

Photo: Santa Maria

This may be a sheer coincidence but, during the 2000s, when cosy Fridays first exploded onto the scene, sales of Tex-Mex products in Sweden also increased by 20, 30 and 40 per cent over the course of just a few years, forcing shops to create separate Tex-Mex sections to gives Swedes easy access to salsa, guacamole, tortillas and nachos (Source: Nielsen Analytics). Nobody knows exactly how tacos became the national dish of Sweden, but the fact remains that Swedes and Norwegians eat more tacos than any other Europeans (Source: ”Taco mexican style” by Malin Eriksson) and that most of those tacos are eaten on Fridays (Source:Study by Questback commissioned by Santa Maria).

In Sweden, tacos are traditionally made using pre-packed taco kits from Santa Maria, even though the conventional filling of heavily spiced ground beef is increasingly being replaced with fish and veggie options, as more and more climate-conscious, clean-living Swedes embrace veganism and healthy-eating habits.

Sour cream and onion flavoured lentil crisps by OLW

Photo: OLW

Swedes have a keen interest in health and fitness – something that even shows in their choice of salty snacks. In 2018, Swedish crisp and snack manufacturers OLW launched its innovative new range of lentil crisps. Containing 13 per cent more protein and 40 per cent less fat than regular crisps, OLW’s sour cream and onion-flavoured lentil crisps are exactly what the Swedish consumer ordered.

The raspberry liquorice skull by Bubs

Photo: BUBS

Did you know that the average Swede eats on average one kilo of liquorice a year (Source: Livsmedelsverket). Bubs’ red-and-black raspberry liquorice skull is one of Sweden’s most iconic and best-loved sweets. And it’s bound to catch your attention with its exquisitely balanced sweet, sour and salty flavour and one-of-a-kind skull design. Ethical, environmentally minded Swedes also love that Bubs’ products are completely free from palm oils and AZO-colouring, whilst most are also free from gelatine.

Oumph! pizza by Oumph!

Photo: Food for Progress

In 2017, meat consumption in Sweden dropped 2.6% (Source: Jordbruksverket) With vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets on the rise, it’s no surprise that innovative Swedish food manufacturers are leading the way in developing vegan meat alternatives. One of these is Oumph! which recently scooped the Best Vegan Meat award from animal rights organisation PETA, for its soya-based meat substitute, packed with protein, fibre, folic acid and other vitamins and minerals. Oumph! Italian-style vegan pizza is the perfect option for vegan cosy Fridays. And considering that it has already gone on sale across 179 Tesco stores in the UK, the future looks bright for the Oumph! pizza.

Swedish fish by Kolsvart

Photo: Kolsvart

Swedes may be a nation of fitness freaks but it turns out they also have a sweet tooth. In fact, Swedes are among the world’s leading consumers of sweets, gorging themselves on an average of 16 kilos per person and year (Source: Jordbruksverket). No bag of Swedish pick’n’mix would be complete without a healthy serving of Swedish fish – a type of multi-coloured, multi-flavoured wine gum that is shaped like a fish and is immensely popular with Swedes of all ages.

Cheez Doodles by OLW

Photo: OLW

Ostbågar or cheese puffs have been a favourite snack among Swedes since they crunched onto the scene in the 1950s. Since then, they have become a must-have feature at cosy Fridays up and down the country. The most popular brand of cheese puff is Cheez Doodles from OLW – an extraordinarily moreish cheese-flavoured corn puff that brands itself as “the Cheezier snack”.

Fresh island dip mix by OLW

Photo: OLW

Serving crisps to a Swede? Then don’t forget the dip. Any Swede will tell you that the two have gone hand in hand since the dawn of time and that one never tastes quite as good without the other. Dip to a Swede means a dry-packaged spice blend that is mixed into a bowl of sour cream and served alongside the crisps. If you’re struggling to navigate all the various flavours, then Fresh Island by OLW is a guaranteed winner.

Organic Candy Wild Raspberry by JOM

Photo: JOM Organic Candy

According to a research report from Global Data the number of vegans in the USA has risen from just 1% to 6% in the last four years – a number that translates to close to 20 million people. While there are no precise figures on the number of Swedish vegans, one thing is certain – health- and planet-conscious Swedes are not far behind. Eating candy can be tricky for a vegan since most jelly-based sweets are made with gelatine. Not any more. Swedish candy manufacturer JOM has developed a range of organic, vegan sweets, to make sure sweet-toothed vegans never need to feel left out of cosy Friday again.

Organic Root Vegetable Crisps by Svenska LantChips

Photo: Svenska LantChips

While there’s little evidence that crisps made from root vegetables are actually better for you than the standard potato ones, there’s no doubting that crisps made from beetroot, carrot and parsnip feel fresher and healthier. One thing’s for sure, the Organic Root Vegetable Crisps from Svenska LantChips, which have been fried in sunflower oil and flavoured with just the right amount of sea salt, are crunchy, colourful and downright delicious.

Lemon lemonade by Solsken

Photo: Solsken

Back in the day, Swedes used to wash their tacos, crisps and dip down with sugar-laden fizzy drinks but, now, the growing wellness trend has them seeking out healthier alternatives. One great option is Solsken’s Lemon Lemonade, a tasty, refreshing lemonade that contains no additives, preservatives or refined sugar. The name “Solsken” literally translates as sunshine and that’s what this 100% organic drink made in the heart of Österlen in the South of Sweden really tastes like – sunshine in a glass.

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