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Swedish alcohol intake hikes after EU entry

TT/The Local/pvs · 28 Apr 2012, 09:10

Published: 28 Apr 2012 09:10 GMT+02:00

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"With regards to alcoholic drinks and meat, the liberalisation of imports and price developments have contributed to increased consumption," the board explained in a statement.

One of the key points of negotiation during Sweden's EU membership application process concerned the issue of the state-controlled alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget.

Sweden secured the right to retain the monopoly until 2004 after which time import restrictions were eased for private individuals. The board's report notes that the easing of import restrictions has led to an increase in consumption.

The report shows that the consumption of alcoholic beverages increased by 56 percent from 1995 to 2009, primarily of high-alcohol beer and wine.

Meat consumption increased over the same period by 48 percent as a result of declining consumer prices.

The board's statistics furthermore show that the consumption of bread, pastry, meat, rice, pasta, fruit and vegetables have also increased over the 15 year period of EU membership.

The same development has been seen for soft drinks, while the consumption of milk and butter has decreased.

Story continues below…

The agriculture board however notes that there could be factors aside from EU membership which have affected the changes in Swedish consumption habits.

"Various factors affect our consumption patterns. Most likely, the increased awareness of the importance of diet to health and global trends have affected the consumer more than EU membership," said Olof Sköld, who wrote the report for the board, in a statement.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:11 April 28, 2012 by johan rebel
Cheaper booze is the one and only thing most Swedes like about the EU.
11:27 April 28, 2012 by Abe L
Reading the article I'm getting the feeling this is trying to be portrayed as a bad thing?
12:05 April 28, 2012 by skogsbo
it's not like joining the EU changed anything. Prices didn't suddenly drop, allowing Swedes access to all these previously out of reach goods. In the western world, disposable income has risen, the fact that the EU grew at the same time is coincidental. You will find the same thing in the US, Canada, Oz and they aren't in the EU.

It only a 3.5% a year increase (not compound), so it's hardly staggering, it just shows a slow progressive rise in spare income. It's not like it leapt up 20% in the year following joining the EU, it's hard to believe some reporter or researcher has made an article of this!

Of course the consumption of milk and butter has declined, whilst pastries etc. have increased, people are buying ready made cakes, bread.. rather that baking their own, also in the days of old, the housewife stayed home, cooking etc.. now they work more and buy ready made goods. It's also where they are getting the additional income to spend on booze! The is very basic economics.
16:03 April 28, 2012 by HYBRED
So I guess joining the EU was enough to drive people to drink.
18:39 April 28, 2012 by Rick Methven
How to pick one small factor in an ever changing society and generalise from the specific to the general. #

Do they have any specifics as to what would have happened if Sweden had not joined the EU?
10:15 April 29, 2012 by dusanka
Boozing and eating more meat has nothing to do with joining the EU.Its totally moronic belief that can only lead to more opposition to EU.
13:01 April 29, 2012 by Twiceshy
Are these per-capita figures?
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