Reindeer trade economy

The Reindeer diet of wild herbs makes for a savoury and sophisticated contribution to the abundant cuisine of Norway.

Reindeer meat is the taste of the tundra.
Reindeer meat is the taste of the tundra. Credit: Skodi Rein AS

There are about 250.000 herd animals in Norway. The precise number varies from year to year. The average national Reindeer meat production is 33 % of the spring herds, i.e. around 85 000 animals each year. 

At an average weight of 22, 5 kg, this gives a volume of 1900 tons. 300 tons are consumed by the Reindeer owners themselves, the rest is brought to market by around 20 licenced meatworks in Norway. 

An average year sees about 1100 tons of Reindeer produce brought to market, mainly as meat, but also in diverse ranges of processed products. 

A popular product 

Recent years has seen increased consumer interest in the quality and history of food. In a market where variety and sophistication of food is in ever greater demand, Reindeer meat has a natural position. The greatest increase in Reindeer meat consumptionis is in the young adult segment. 

Reindeer meat is the taste of the Tundra - the animals graze in the wilderness, following natures' seasons, and themselves of great natural beauty.  The vast outback is the backdrop for the positive connotations experienced by nature loving consumers as well as professional traders.  Reindeer meat is healthy, as well. 

Potential for economic growth

Reindeer husbandry has a unique basis and many advantages. The demand for reindeer meat is solid, and still increasing. This has also influenced the positive development of income levels in the trade. 

Reindeer husbandry may harbor economic potential far surpasssing the present level. There are considerable opportunities in processing Reindeer meat and other byproducts from Reindeer, in tourism and in engaging with the Saami Reindeer herding culture and way of life. 

Reindeer husbandry is also a unique setting for community education and experience, where several generations of reindeer owners can join in continuing a tradition of crafts and culture. There is room for developing sustainable corporations, with a solid base of expertise and experience, supplying quality products in demand by the various markets.