The most likely explanation for the swift increase of pork consumption in Iceland: foreigners, supposedly.
Kjarninn reports that pork consumption in Iceland increased by 10% between 2014 and 2015, according to data from Statistics Iceland. In real terms, this comes out to an annual per capita consumption increase from 19kg of pork to 21kg.
Hörður Harðarson, the chairperson of the Pig Farmers Association of Iceland, told reporters that the increased consumption came as a surprise to him. Last year was not an especially good year for pig farmers: a veterinarian’s strike put a damper on output, and considerably critical news stories about pig farm conditions dominated the headlines for weeks.
Hörður believes that there is one primary explanation for more pork being eaten despite these events: foreigners.
“The vast majority of them eat bacon, and we haven’t been able to meet the demand for it,” he said. “We need to import pork products from overseas to meet the demand.”
Tourism has been on the rise, although more for some nationalities than others. Brits and Americans, both people with a strong bacon tradition, have been coming to Iceland in increasing numbers, while other Nordic tourists have been on the wane.
In fact, figures from the Icelandic Tourist Board show that some 77,500 foreigners departed from Iceland in January alone, showing an increase of 25% from January 2015.