Designer pork has provided one of the few bright spots in a generally gloomy market for pig meat in Sweden, according to HKScan, the country’s largest meat company. HKScan reports a good start to Swedish sales of Rapsgris, its recently introduced brand of pork produced on the basis of including rapeseed oil in the pigs’ feed. This designer pork meat claims two benefits:

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1. The polyunsatured fatty acids from rapeseed oil create a healthier pork by replacing some of the saturated fatty acids present in conventional pig meat.

2. Additionally, the meat is more tender and juicy as well as more flavorsome and is easier to cook.

In Sweden, the launch of Rapsgris began in March 2012 with its appearance on the menu at several top restaurants. Meat of the same type was then offered through retail stores from September. HKScan insists that it has been tailored carefully to suit Swedish conditions, from the amount of rapeseed oil included in the formulation of the feed to the on-farm conditions for producing the pigs. 

The company adds that Rapsgris also is a PR success by helping improve the image of pork in Sweden. Domestic pig meat production continues to suffer a long process of decline.

This background was underlined by recent figures showing that fewer than 2.59 million pigs were slaughtered for meat at Swedish abattoirs in 2012, down from 2.85 million in 2011. Pig slaughter peaked in 2004 at 3.36 million pigs before beginning a series of year-on-year reductions. 

First data for 2013 have indicated that a decline in pig production is on-going and may even have accelerated. Sweden’s sow numbers in December 2012 fell to 140,900 from 151,800 a year earlier and compared with 168,000 in 2008.