The King Oscar brand was founded in 1902, when King Oscar II, ruler of Norway and Sweden, gave Chr. Bjelland & Co. A/S (a Norwegian canning company) a special royal permission to use his name and likeness on a line of sardine products.
King Oscar II ruled the United Kingdoms of Norway and Sweden from 1872 until 1905, when he granted Norway its independence. He remained king of Sweden until his death in 1907 at the age of 78. To this day, King Oscar remains the only brand in Norway with a “Royal Permission.”
Over the years, the King Oscar brand expanded into new markets, introduced new product lines, and was eventually acquired by several different parent companies as the sardine canning industry evolved in Norway. Today, King Oscar AS is a subsidiary of the Norwegian food company Rieber & Søn ASA.
While sardines have always been King Oscar’s flagship product, the company produces a variety of award-winning seafood products including brisling and Baltic sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, cod, and specialty items, as well as fish salads and fish pâtés. The company determines product selection market by market based on regional consumer tastes.
Headquartered in Bergen, Norway, King Oscar maintains production facilities in Svolvær, Norway and Gniewino, Poland. The facility in Poland is world-class and one of the most modern production plants in that country. However, for quality assurance the company still wood-smokes its brisling sardines and packs all of its products by hand, following Norwegian traditions the same way it has done for more than a century. The fastest packer has been known to fill as many as 1,000 cans of fish in an hour. Annually, the company produces over 60 million cans of fish.
King Oscar maintains marketing offices in Norway, Poland, and the United States. The fish for its products are caught in the Norwegian fjords, the North Sea, and various waters around the world using ocean-friendly and dolphin-safe methods. The global brand is distributed in countries including Norway, the United States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and South Africa.
See also King Oscar’s homepage here.
Photo on top by: www.skrotnissen.no
Bottom photo by: www.saveur.com