Food trucks pack out Stockholm’s hipster island Södermalm during the summer, where the neighbourhood’s bearded and vintage clad residents are invited to get a taste of global street foods while they enjoy the city’s long awaited sunshine.
But the latest vehicle to arrive in the city is a small shiny brown van, serving up dishes for the capital’s dogs.
It is currently situated on the other side of the Swedish capital in Stureplan, the most well-heeled district in the city, where global designer stores rub shoulders with some of Scandinavia’s top restaurants. If you want to get a glimpse of a mini pet pooch in a Prada handbag in ‘equal’ Sweden, this area is your best bet.
The bizarre canine concept being trialed here was dreamed up by Magnus Rosengren, a dog lover who believes that pets in health-conscious Sweden aren’t being offered the same variety of ecological and vitamin-packed foods as their discerning owners.
“For many years we have fed our canine friends food from the major dog food producers without questioning the contents,” he said in a recent press statement.
He believes that his company, Wonderboo, is the first in the world to market such high end dog-friendly take-out.
“Dog owners’ awareness has now increased, and the same high demands we put on our own food is now placed on the food we feed our dogs. I want to help dog owners give their dogs the best conditions for a long and healthy life while making it convenient,” he added.
The products are made of fresh Swedish beef with added vitamins and calcium. The flagship flavour ‘Swedish ox’ has a higher fat content and includes oxblood, while a second product labelled ‘light’ offers a less dense experience aimed at smaller animals. Each portion is gently cooked at 50C for 48 hours, before being air-dried and placed in red and white cardboard boxes decorated with gold writing.
In Stureplan on Monday evening, few Swedes appeared to be snapping up the products.
Annette, 52, who lives in the area told The Local: “I don't have a dog but my first impression is that it’s stupid. But people love their pets in Sweden, so maybe in the future it’s something to think about…it could take off maybe in this area but I don’t think it’s going to be big in Sweden.”
Another shopper, Roger, 32, said that there was “no way” he would visit the food truck with his dog Saga, due to the cost of the products, which range from 32 to 45 kronor (around $4-5).
“If my dog wants a treat I’ll give him some meat leftovers from my own plate, not pay for this fancy packaging,” he added.
The truck in Stureplan on Monday night. Photo: The Local
Didrik Reuterswarg, who was among those manning the food truck in Stureplan insisted that the business idea was catching on, with some customers already placing online orders and visiting the firm's fixed-location store which also recently opened in the Swedish capital.
“We find our customers on Östermalm but also on Södermalm, Kungsholmen, Vasastan,” he said, referring to the city's main central districts.
“A lot of people are very amazed and positively surprised about the new dog food that you can get…there was really no market before this product.”
But he accepted that the food was priced at a premium.
“Oh yes of course, but you can almost compare it to if you go to the grocery store and buy milk and butter, you can buy the ecological [more expensive] version or you can buy the normal version.”
Anna, 41, a lawyer who works in the area and passed by with an enormous designer handbag but without her one-year-old poodle, told The Local she would consider trying it out on her pet.
“I guess we all deserve a bit of luxury sometimes,” she laughed.
No dogs were available for comment.