Whaling Damages Lamb Exports

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Whaling Damages Lamb Exports

By Ásta Andrésdóttir
Icelandic lamb

Icelandic lamb.Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Icelandic whaling is damaging the sales of Icelandic lamb in the U.S. market, rúv.is reports.

In 2013, sales to the United States fell short of the projected 250 tons. This is attributed to the fact that the U.S. chain store Whole Foods stopped advertising Icelandic lamb last year due to Iceland’s whaling.

The Farmers Association’s publication Bændablaðið reports that in the year 2012 sales totaled approximately 200 tons, which marked the best year ever for Icelandic lamb in the U.S. market. Since sales had been growing from year to year, an increase by 50 tons had been projected for the year 2013.

All lamb exported to the United States comes from the KVH abattoir in Hvammstangi, Northwest Iceland. The CEO of KVH, Magnús Freyr Jónsson, told Bændablaðið that an agreement had been made with Whole Foods in 2009 that the retail chain stopped advertising Iceland lamb because of Iceland’s whaling. For some reason the chain continued to do so until last year.

The fact that sales had remained at 200 tons without advertisement really shoes the strong market share of Icelandic lamb in the United States, ruv.is reports. According to Magnús, representatives from Whole Foods are coming in the next months to discuss the continuation of lamb sales in the United States. Should it turn out that offering Icelandic meat damages the image of Whole Foods the collaboration will most likely be automatically terminated. 

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