Denmark may have officially crowned fried pork as its first ever national dish, but it may have just as well chosen a bowlful of candy.
Danes are so crazy about gummy bears, liquorice and other candies that they eat more of the sweet stuff than everybody in the world except the Finns.
Zetland media reports that the Danes’ annual consumption of 8.18 kilos of candy per inhabitant is more than twice the European average and second to only Finland on a global scale.
By 2018, the average Dane is expected to eat 8.51 kilos of candy per year, which will give Denmark the title of the world’s most candy-crazed nation.
The stats, which come from a 2013 report from Sugar Confectionery Europe, do not include chocolate or chewing gum.
So, what’s the reason behind this massive candy consumption? The one-word answer is hygge.
See also: Enough with the hygge already!
Researchers say that the national psyche has intricately intwined eating a bowlful of candy with the concept of hygge, which basically means having a nice and cozy time. Friday night candy with the kids is such an ingrained concept that it has its own name: fredagsslik (Friday candy) and is ritually practiced in family homes nationwide.
“It’s socially accepted – among family, friends and colleagues – that it is totally fine, or even almost required, to eat unhealthy when you hygge,” Heidi Boye, a consumer researcher who wrote her PhD on the Danes’ love of candy, told Politiken.
“If you try to make hygge healthy, it doesn’t feel right. The hygge isn’t quite as good and everyone is scared to be the person who ruins the hygge,” she added.
Europe’s biggest candy eaters:
Finland: 8.33 kg in 2013, 8.41 projected for 2018
Denmark: 8.18 kg in 2013, 8.51 projected for 2018
Russia: 7.38 kg in 2013, 8.15 projected for 2018
Sweden: 7.31 kg in 2013, 7.68 projected for 2018
European average: 3.91 kg in 2013, 4.13 projected for 2018