Norwegian consumers among least satisfied in Europe

When it comes to basic food products, consumers in Norway feel like they’re getting a raw deal.

Norwegian consumers among least satisfied in Europe
Only consumes in Bulgaria and Croatia are less satisfied with their basic food products. Photo: Thomas Winje Øijord / Scanpix
According to the European Commission’s Consumer Markets Scoreboard, released in full on Monday, Norway has some of the absolute least satisfied consumers among the 30 nations surveyed. 
Norwegians are particularly unhappy with the shopping options for food items like meat, fruit and vegetables. 
In the category of ‘meat and meat products’, Norwegian consumer satisfaction was ranked at just 71.4 out of 100, a full 9.2 percentage points below the EU average. The same gap is found in the category of ‘fruit and vegetables’, where the Norwegian score of 72.5 was far behind the 81.6 EU average. 
“There are only two countries in Europe where there is lower [consumer] satisfaction than in Norway and that’s Bulgaria and Croatia. That speaks for itself,” Gunstein Instefjord of Norway's consumer rights watchdog, Forbrukerrådet, told broadcaster NRK. 
Norwegians’ satisfaction for all goods included in the study – which include such things as books and magazines, vehicles, appliance, entertainment goods and electronic products – was 3.9 percent below the European average. 
The Consumer Markets Scoreboard also found that Norwegian satisfaction has decreased by one point overall since the last survey. 
Instefjord said Norwegian consumers should be able to “expect better than this”. 
“Norwegian consumers have passed their judgement. Compared to other Europeans, Norwegians are clearly less satisfied with the meats, vegetables and fruit that they buy,” he told NRK. 
The head of the Norwegian agricultural co-operative Nortura said he was “surprised” by the scoreboard’s results. 
“With the quality we have in Norwegian meat products, we should be the most satisfied consumers in Europe, there shouldn’t be any doubt,” Kjell Rakkenes told NRK. 
Norwegians aren’t particularly satisfied with the services available in their country either. While the overall service satisfaction score of 76.7 was only 1.8 points below the European average, some services were much further below. The biggest gap is in the service level at cafes, bars and restaurants. There, Norwegian satisfaction was just 71.5, a full 9.8 points below the average. The satisfaction in internet providers was also 8.1 points below the average. 
There were some areas, however, in which Norwegians were much more satisfied than their European brethren. Consumer satisfaction was well above the average when it comes to the water supply, banking services and home mortgages. 

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Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

The last Thursday of September marks 'fårikålens dag', a day to celebrate Norway's beloved national dish - an autumn meal-time staple for most Norwegians. 

Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

In 1972, fårikål was first named the national dish of Norway, and despite a brief flirtation with the possibility of replacing it in 2014 has remained the top dog ever since. 

Some of the meals that fårikål beat out to remain the national dish are kjøttkaker, a type of meatballs, raspeball, a potato dumpling, and pinnekjøtt, the lamb’s ribs traditionally served at Christmas. 

The dish’s name is a compound, meaning “mutton in cabbage”. It consists of pieces of mutton or lamb on the bone, whole peppercorns, and layers of green cabbage. The name draws its roots from the Danish language originally. 

For many, fårikål is the quintessential autumn dish as its typically only served during this time, potatoes are in season and sheep are typically brought down from mountain farms during this time. It is normally accompanied with crispy, paper-thin flatbread and boiled potatoes.  

Many Norwegians will associate the taste, and smell, of the dish with the changing of the seasons and auburn leaves. Other classic autumn dishes are lapskaus, or “stew”, baked root vegetables, mushroom soups, and blueberry muffins. 

READ MORE: Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Fårikål first rose to prominence in the 19th century and is believed to have originated in urban areas. One of the first original recipes was in the Fuldstænd Norsk Kogebog by Karen Dorothea. That early recipe suggested that mutton could act as a substitute for a goose. 

If you wish to make the dish yourself, there is no need to fear as it is a relatively easy meal to make. However, it will take some time to prepare it. Depending on the recipe you use, it could take anywhere between an hour or three to make. As with most stew or casserole type dishes, longer normally delivers the best results. 

Recipes for the meal are available in both English and Norwegian. Below you can see a video of the dish being prepared. 

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