Higher demand and a stagnant supply has driven up the price of reindeer meat in Sweden as consumers shop for more natural, free-range meats.
Buyers are paying a record high of SEK 80 per kilogram in the northernmost Sami villages, an increase of about SEK 10 since last fall, according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Although between 50,000 and 60,000 reindeer are slaughtered in Sweden each year, demand outstrips supply. One explanation is that more consumers want to eat less processed meat, free of antibiotics and hormones.
Farmers have a hard time increasing the size of their herd since they are limited by the amount of pasture. Modifying Sweden’s policy toward the reindeer’s natural predators could increase the size of the stock, according to Renlycka, the Reindeer Owners’ Quality Association.
“Predators have grown much in the last 15 years. Wolves, lynx, wolverines, bears and eagles take between 30,000 and 50,000 reindeer each year. There are almost as many slaughtered,” Ol-Johán Sikku, a project manager at Renlycka, told the newspaper.
Most of meat is consumed locally in the north of Sweden though a small portion is sent to restaurants and shops down south and overseas.
Canada: Selling caribou meat online may hasten herds’ decline: biologist, CBC News
Finland: Demand for reindeer meat up in Finland, Yle News
Sweden: Could reindeer milk help develop tourist industry in Arctic?, Radio Sweden
United States: New effort to bring Native foods to plates across Alaska, Alaska Dispatch