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PTT: Meat and dairy consumption declining

The Pellervo think-tank predicts that meat prices will soon rise.

Finland's meat industry may see trouble. Image: AOP

The Pellervo Economic Research institute (PTT) estimated on Tuesday that the price of food would rise by 1.1 percent overall this year, and by 1.4 percent next year.

But the retail price of meat products will climb, according to the institute, with price tags rising by some four percent. The prices of vegetables and fruit, conversely, are expected to continue falling as the supply of new meatless foods increases.

The consumption of dairy products is also on a downward trend, PTT said.

The institute says that food industry growth is now based on an increase in exports. The overseas demand for dairy products and pork has risen, even while agricultural entrepreneurs lose money on their investments.

The danger of African swine fever breaking out in China and wiping out half of its 400 million pigs has caused a rise in demand for European pork across Asia, affecting prices.

PTT reported that the increase in meat prices would be more modest in 2020, when a 1.5 percent rise is expected.

Plant-based products buck meaty trend

The overall consumption of meat in Finland was on an upward trend for many decades, but now appears to be abating, said PTT. The institute said pork in Finland has seen a longer dip in demand, to be closely followed by the falling appeal of beef and a levelling off in the consumption of poultry.

"The increasing popularity of chicken has been a top food trend in recent years. When it tapers off, the effects will be widely felt in the meat industry," PTT wrote.

Finland's meat consumption trend has been on the rise for decades – from 50 kg per person in 1970 to some 81 kg per person in 2018 – but it has been spurred almost entirely by a high demand for poultry, whose growth trend is now slowing for the first time in years.

The PTT also found that a reason for the decline in meat-eating can be found in an increased awareness of health and environmental issues. People are eating more vegetables and meat substitutes, leading to more innovations in meatless products, PTT said.

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