Candy Dates—the Latest Swedish Candy Trend
Eating dates as a sweet treat is nothing new—it dates (no pun intended) back many thousand of years. But turning dates into the modern version of candy? We only know one brand that does it: Dave & Jon’s. They've become incredibly popular in Scandinavia. This is their story…and some intriguing facts about dates (the kind you eat, not the kind you go on)!

Introducing Dave & Jon’s Epically Epic Dates

Before we begin, if you haven't yet had the pleasure of biting into a Dave and Jon's date, let's try to explain them.

They're dates that taste like candy...but look like dates. Sour cola. Fizzy bottles. Sweet peaches. Licorice. Chocolate balls. There's a whole array of different flavors!

How do they make them? That's a well guarded secret, but the end result? Delicious. It's the kind of candy you have to lock away to stop yourself from eating. Yet, it contains no added sugar! In fact, dates are incredibly good for you (more about that later).


The Story of Dave & Jon’s

Dave & Jon’s Snack Factory is a family operated business situated in a factory outside Uppsala. The factory looks more like a barn surrounded by beautiful meadows than an actual factory. Though, of course, the machinery is top notch, the roof is covered in solar panels, and if you step inside, you’ll find that everything is both modern and spotless. Which sort of sums up their values right there: “The factory is of the most modern kind, but the quality and our values are of old standard.”

The “mother company” (moderbolaget) is Famora Foods, owned and operated by the Orang Family (hence the name—Fam Ora). It was founded in 1987 by Yousef Orang. 

With Yousef as chairman of the board, the company is now run in the second generation with David (CEO), Jonas, Susanna and Elias. And that’s when you realize that Dave & Jon’s is not a funny take on “Davy Jones” but we’re sure a lot of people would agree that the products they sell are a real treasure…even though they have nothing to do with pirates or Johnny Depp (though you can’t blame us for first thinking that, can you?! And, before you reprimand us, did you know that Davy Jones used to be slang for the devil of the sea? Long before it became a Disney character…).

Ever since its launch, the Famora company has been on the up and up. Starting as a humble importer of dried fruits and nuts, they’re now making their own snacks under two different brands—Dave & Jon’s and Prima—as well as still providing dried fruits and nuts in bulk. They’ve also picked up prestigious certificates along the way. “We have been BRC [British Retail Consortium] certified since 2011. Every year, we undergo an audit where strict requirements are placed on quality and food safety. BRC is a global, and internationally recognized standard where a comprehensive quality effort is required to become certified. In Sweden, only about a hundred companies are certified according to the standard.” Actually, more than 300 points are checked at your company both on paper and physically on the shop floor to get certified, so it’s no small feat.

As for eco-friendliness, Famora scores high there, too. 

They built their new factory and storage facility in 2018 using eco-friendly building materials as far as possible (such as energy glass and super-insulating wall panels). In addition, not only do they use solar panels and LED lighting, they heat their facilities with geothermal heat! And their facility is a whopping 5,000 sqm! In their own words, “5000 sqm is a lot to heat and cool. Therefore, several thousand meters of holes were drilled, and several geothermal heat pumps were installed. The entire facility is now heated and cooled almost exclusively by geothermal heat.”

Famora is also a big believer in CSR—corporate social responsibility. “Human rights and good conditions for workers are incredibly important for contributing to a better world. We have a code of conduct based on the UN Declaration on Human Rights. All our producers must approve this code to become a supplier to us. They also undertake to receive unannounced visits by us to inspect the conditions [...]. We primarily work with so-called low-risk countries. When this [is] not possible, we always try to ensure that the supplier works according to UN human rights and is certified by third parties.”

Impressed? We are.


It's All About Dates—Why They Aren't Just Delicious, but Good for You, Too

Dates were one of the first fruits to be cultivated by man—there's evidence suggesting we started cultivating dates already 7,000 BC. That means we've been growing dates for about 9,000 years! As a date palm takes 4-8 years before it starts producing dates it's not something you do overnight, however.

There's good reason why dates should be popular—apart from being super sweet (yet have a relatively low GI of 42-53), they're packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as antioxidants (which help improve cell health). 

According to Healthline, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of Medjool dates provides the following nutrients:

    Calories: 277
    Carbs: 75 grams
    Fiber: 7 grams
    Protein: 2 grams
    Potassium: 15% DV
    Magnesium: 13% DV
    Copper: 40% DV
    Manganese: 13% DV
    Iron: 5% DV
    Vitamin B6: 15% DV

But it doesn't stop there, oh no! Dates have actually been proven to possibly benefit your brain. They might reduce inflammation markers in the brain, as well as a protein that can form brain plaque, both which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Plus, they could boost your memory and learning capacities.

In other words, if you switch from regular candy to date candy, chances are your brain will thank you!

And if you happen to be pregnant, there are some good news: eating dates could potentially lessen the chances of the need for an induced birth and lower your time in active labor!

How's that for an incentive to try Dave & Jon's Dates? Not that you need one. They truly are delicious!