Swedish meat consumption dips as production rises

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Swedes eating less meat

Related tags Meat consumption Meat Sweden Beef Lamb Pork Poultry

Meat consumption among the Swedish population dipped in 2017, according to a study by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Jordbruksverket.

Jordbruksverket’s research revealed the total consumption of meat in slaughtered weight was stable, at around 87.5kg per capita in 2013-2016, even though there were disruptions between the meat layers. From a longer-term perspective, meat consumption has increased sharply between 1990 and 2017, up 41%.

However, in 2017, meat consumption fell by 2.2kg or 2.6%, which was the largest annual decline since 1990. Swedish consumers ate less of all meats except lamb, which increased by 0.1kg. Beef decreased most at -1.1kg, followed by pork at -0.8kg and poultry at -0.4kg.

Although overall consumption of meat was down over the year, the percentage of domestically produced meat eaten rose. The research found that Swedes were increasingly choosing Swedish meat, with the biggest rises seen in beef and veal, despite consumer prices rising.

Confidence in Swedish meat is thus high today, even though we are eating less meat in total,​” said Åsa Lannhard Öberg, agricultural investigator. “There are many reasons for the reduction in meat consumption, but the vegan trend, climate debate, health aspects and ethical reasons are a few of these.

In Sweden, we produce meat and poultry for food with… sustainable added value. These include, for example, low antibiotic use and healthy animals; animal welfare requirements that go beyond many other countries; feed production that follows high standards in terms of the use of plant protection and nutrients; and good access to water.

“The fact that the consumption of meat is decreasing, especially in the western world, is often highlighted as an important part of global sustainable development. Now that this is happening in Sweden, combined with an increased proportion of Swedish meat consumption, 2017 has been a year of positive development in several aspects.”

Increased production

As well as consumption dropping in 2017, production of all meat cuts in the country increased. The amount of lamb increased the most, followed by pork, poultry and beef. However, the high production increase for poultry in the first quarter of 2017 gradually declined during the year.

The research found that net trade sales improved last year, due to increased exports and reduced imports. This applied to all proteins except lamb. Imports of pork have been steady on a quarterly basis since the antibiotic debate took off in 2014, while for the first year since 2009, imports of poultry for food decreased 2017, while exports increased.

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