Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

In the US we might get our pesto or tomato paste from a metal tube, but we probably wouldn’t look to tubes like for our lunchtime meal. But, in Sweden their fascination with food in tubes has changed the way snacks and quick meals are prepared. Instead of opening a can of tuna to then make tuna salad, you could instead apply a paste of seasoned mackerel to your bread or crackers and be done with it. Feeling like a small cheese plate? You could cut everything up and make nice little bites- or you could simply whip out a tube of pear and cheese spread and apply to your chosen carb instead. If this all sounds a bit space age then you’re not wrong. In Russia a fad for buying “space food” that comes in tubes caught on for a time there. But, in other Northern European countries, this type of packaging isn’t an oddity: its a normal part of everyday life.

Swedish pastes in tubes
Via: Great Big Story/ YouTube

While tubed foods are popular in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, it’s Sweden who really takes the tube game to the next level. It’s not uncommon to have a knäckebröd (or thick cracker-bread) topped with a sliced egg and some caviar paste or a cheese paste and some herbs. These sandwiches are usually open-faced and are known as smörgås.

variety of Swedish Smörgås
Via: Great Big Story/ YouTube

There are a huge variety of Swedish tube foods to be had- everything from sweet to salty to rich and beyond. Food researcher, Karla Marie Paredes, has been living in Sweden since 2012 and has some theories as to why tubed food is so popular there. The Swedes are known for their love of simplicity, efficiency, and cleanliness. And, food in tubes offers the user all those things, with the added touch of being extremely convenient to use.

Find out more about the Swedish love of food in tubes in the video below.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes