More Norwegian Christmas food this year

Little import of Christmas food this December

Norwegian Christams food

Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB
Welcome to this year’s Chistmas table in Norway, filled with Norwegian food produced by Norwegian farmers.

Landbruksdirektoratet / NTB

Almost all the Christmas food in Norway this year will have been produced by Norwegian farmers, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Agriculture.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without ribbe, pinnekjøtt, potatoes, and all the side dishes. This year, almost all traditional Christmas food will be produced by Norwegian farmers.

“Despite a demanding year in agriculture with both drought and floods, it seems that there will be enough Norwegian Christmas food to satisfy everyone this Christmas. As a result, there will be little import of Christmas food,” said Jørn Rolfsen, managing director in the Norwegian Directorate of Agriculture.

Sales in the billions

Estimates from Virke show that Norwegians will shop for food and drink in the amount of NOK 30 billion, or USD 2.9 billion, in the month of December. The revenue from food and drink increases by 20% during the Christmas month, and there is good reason to assume that much of the increase is a result of increased sales of Christmas food. Each Norwegian spends almost NOK 6,000, about USD 570, on food and drink in December.

Enough meat

Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB
Did you know that half of all Norwegians eat ribbe for Christmas?

Whether you prefer ribbe or pinnekjøtt, there is enough in stock, recent figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Agriculture show.

“There is plenty of ribbe in stock. The stocks of pork amount to more than 3,800 tons, so there should be plenty for both ribbe and medisterkaker, said Rolfsen. For those who prefer pinnekjøtt, there is no need to worry about empty plates on Christmas Eve either.

“Although somewhat less lamb has been slaughtered this year than last year, Nortura reports that they have produced pinnekjøtt in accordance to orders from customers. Thus, there should be enough pinnekjøtt to cover demand for Christmas dinner across the land,” said Rolfsen.

Fewer imports this year

Norway has quotas on the import of ribbe in December, from the EU as well as from the United Kingdom. These quotas were fully filled last year, but this year, it seems that less ribbe will be imported on these quotas. A lack of ribbe has also in previous years led to a reduction in customs duties in the period leading up to Christmas, which does not seem to be the case this year either. This means that this year’s Christmas ribbe supplies are almost guaranteed to be produced in Norway.

Nortura’s forecasts show an expected decrease of around 6% in the production of lamb in 2023. At the same time, the sale of lamb has also decreased somewhat through the year, and there are now close to 360 tons of mutton and 26 tons of lamb in storage. The customary Christmas dinner sides are also safely harvested and in cold storage.

Norwegian Christmas vegetables

Christmas dinner is not complete without potatoes, surkål (Norwegian sauerkraut), and rutabaga stew. All are primarily produced by Norwegian farmers. There are now reports of increasing sales of typical Christmas vegetables.

Rutabaga stew adds color to the Christmas plate. The Directorate of Agriculture has been informed that supply is good and revenue increasing. There is also plenty of cabbage for the surkål.

Potato growers have had challenges with the weather. But there is hope for enough Norwegian almond potatoes for Christmas. Brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner are also in stock.

Norwegian Christmas cookies

When millions of cookie tins are to be filled with seven types of cookies, enormous amounts of flour, butter, eggs, and cream are sued. This year, almost everything is being  produced by Norwegian farmers. Since last year set a new record for Norwegian flour, as many as nine out of 10 bags of flour for this year’s baking are made from Norwegian grain. Eggs, cream, and butter are close to being completely Norwegian.

All-Norwegian aquavit

Norwegian Christmas food

Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB
Norwegian aquavit pairs perfectly with ribbe and is an important part of the Norwegian Christmas dinner.

Christmas aquavit is a popular accompaniment to hearty Christmas food. And there will be no Christmas toast without Norwegian farmers.

The raw material in Norwegian aquavit is potatoes, and all Norwegian aquavits are based on this. Many of the potatoes that cannot be sold in shops because of non-standard sizes or other cosmetic defects end up in aquavit production.

If you choose Norwegian aquavit, it is actually required by law that it must be made from Norwegian raw materials. Norwegian aquavit is a protected product in conjunction with EU regulations. To be called Norwegian aquavit, it means that the base spirit must be made from a minimum of 95% Norwegian potatoes.

Skål and god jul!

Did you know that half of all Norwegians eat ribbe for Christmas?


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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway