Agricultural newspaper Bændablaðið reports that Iceland’s stocks of mutton have reached a historic low.
According to recently published statistics, the slaughter season has never before begun with as little stored mutton as this year.
Stocks at the end of July were recorded at 767 tonnes, with monthly sales of around 500 tonnes. Decreased production of mutton is attributed to several factors this year, including rising costs and fewer animals slaughtered this year.
These forces have combined to lead to an all-time low in stocks of mutton, although officials will not have a complete picture until mid-September, when slaughterhouses have submitted their status reports on stock levels.
Ágúst Torfi Hauksson, CEO of Kjarnafæði Norðlenska, has cautioned that the numbers ought to be seen in context. He stated to Bændablaðið: “Mutton has been very cheap on the market and perhaps much cheaper than it should be based on production costs. Icelanders are used to the price of this product, and therefore a considerable increase could lead to less demand. But consumers should still bear in mind that it is in their interest that sheep farmers are paid. If farmers are paid so little that they are forced to stop farming, then this could also lead to a shortage of lamb meat.”
According to Ágúst, the market is actually in good condition at the moment, with the price of mutton reflecting a balance of the supply and demand.
Like many other industries, production costs have risen sharply in the last year. Combined with inflation, it is natural for prices to rise significantly. The question seems to be whether consumers will accept this, and whether demand will adjust itself accordingly.