Swedish Food and Beverage is officially a success in the UK. Many Brits have long been aware of Swedish food such as cinnamon buns, meatballs and gravad lax, but not everyone might be aware of the Swedish drinks that have rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years. Swedish cider brands Rekorderlig and Kopparberg, whiskey brand Mackmyra and of course the classic spirit Absolut Vodka, can now been found in most bars around the country. But did you know that Sweden is also in the top 10 of coffee consuming nations? So how come Swedes are so good at making beverages that become favourites around the world? The SCC spoke to two Member companies producing Swedish beverages in the UK to get their view on the hyped phenomenon of Swedish drinks (and what you should pair them with).
Stephanie Lawrence, Marketing Manager at coffee company and SCC Member Löfbergs, said that part of their success in the UK market can be traced to the famous Swedish “fika”. She said: “Sweden has a good reputation in the UK, and when it comes to coffee, the fika-tradition is well known here as it is all over the world.”
Besides fika, other world-famous traditions such as smörgasbord and snaps could also be contributing factors to the Nordic hype.
Many people say that the Swedish beverage trend has something to do with the lifestyle associated with Scandinavia. When Brits think of the Nordics, they predominantly think of nature, health and design which are all very positive associations.
Wine estate co-founder Susanna Busi Jacobsohn, of SCC Member company Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate believed it might have something to do with the Nordic heritage. She said: “We think it’s got something to do with peoples’ beliefs in myths about the Vikings’ drinking habits.”
It might also be the fact that Swedish food and beverage has been featured in many films and TV series which has sparked the interest among British gourmets. Examples of such successes are the TV series The Bridge and the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that have played a big part in the Nordic noir trend. Media has always had a significant impact on the food and beverage industry and determining what’s hot and what’s not agreed with this. She told the LINK: “The hugely successful Scandinavian crime dramas on TV adds to a romanticised picture of the Nordic region.”
When asked to compare the British and Swedish consumer, Stephanie and Susanna agreed with each other and said that they have a lot in common. The only difference they both have identified is the level of consumption. Whereas Brits on average drink more wine, according to Susanna, Swedes make up for it in drinking three times as much coffee as the average Brit according to Stephanie. “But, the UK is actually one of the few markets where the coffee consumption is increasing,” Stephanie said and added: “so there’s hope”.
Beverages are naturally closely linked to eating and can be enhanced in experience when paired with the right food. When having some wine from the Busi Jacobsohn Wine Estate, Susanna recommended savouring a piece of chocolate to bring out the best in the wine. Whereas the best pairing with Löfbergs coffee is a traditional fika, especially a delicious cinnamon bun. Stephanie said: “Coffee and cinnamon buns are the cornerstones of a tasty, traditional Swedish fika. But our coffee also works with well with other sweets such as cookies, cakes, biscuits etc. Or simply by itself.”
It is not easy to pinpoint what exactly made Swedish beverages so immensely popular in the UK market whether it is mass media, heritage or positive associations in general. But it is safe to say that they’re here to stay!