More meat and alcohol on the table
Today's Swede drinks more alcohol and eats more meat than before Sweden became a member of the European Union. Why? According to a new study, cheaper prices and open borders have given meat and alcohol consumption an extra push. When Sweden became a member of the EU in 1995, the tariffs between member countries were removed and Swedish grocery prices were put in line with those of the common market. The new study from Jordbruksverket (the Swedish Board of Agriculture), shows that changes in Swedes’ consumption patterns during the period 1995-2009 were influenced by the EU membership. The strongest increase is that in alcohol beverages, which rose as much as 57 percent, mostly in wine and beer consumption. The consumption of liquor had a more modest increase, of only 19 percent during the same period. Rather than cheaper prices, it is believed the open borders and consumption habits from neighboring countries are behind this increase. “We travel more, we experience a different alcohol culture, and we apply more continental habits such as drinking wine with our meals,” says Olof Sköld, who’s behind the report. Many people buy bottles of alcohol and bring them home from their travels. Swedes also consume more meat: 48 percent more during the period. But in the case of meat, it has more to do with prices than anything else. Apart from EU prices and border politics, health trends affect what the Swede puts on his table. “Perhaps in a few years we will see that whole milk and real butter become popular,” Sköld says.