Fresh stats for 2017 from the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) show that in 2017, the average consumption of meat in Sweden dropped by 2.6 percent (2.2 kilograms) – the biggest yearly reduction since the organization started recording the figures in 1990.
Seen in the long-term, consumption of meat in the country increased significantly between 1990 and 2017 (41 percent).
When the types of meat are looked at individually, beef saw the biggest reduction in 2017 (with consumption down an average of 1.1kg to 24.5kg per person), followed by pork (down 0.8kg to 32.7kg) and poultry (down 0.4kg to 23.2kg). Lamb was the one type of meat to see an average increase, but only marginally (up 0.1kg to 1.9kg).
Sweden also exported more meat and imported less in 2017 compared to previous years. Beef imports were down by 4.9 percent, poultry by 0.6 percent. Pork saw the biggest decline, 6.9 percent, following a trend since 2014 when stories emerged regarding overuse of antibiotics in imported pork.
“Confidence in Swedish meat is high today, even if we are eating less meat in total. There are many explanations for the reduced consumption of meat, but the trend of vegetarianism, debates about climate change, health aspects and ethical reasons are some,” Åsa Lannhard Öberg, the Swedish Board of Agriculture's agricultural policy spokesperson said in a statement.