Why do Norwegians eat so many saucages? We asked a food sociologist.

Norwegians eat 120 sausages a year

Although sausages have existed in Norway since the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until the 1950s that we got the wiener sausage.

A picnic blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and maybe a hot dog?

Sausages are a hiking companion that many Norwegians love.

Not only do Norwegians enjoy sausages on hikes, but they’re also a big part of food traditions.

Sausages are an important part of the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17th, and even on Christmas Eve.

Why did sausages become such a big culinary phenomenon, and become regular hiking companion?

Kvikk Lunsj has long been a favourite for many on hiking trips.

Hiking-friendly foods

In the early 1900s, Easter holiday started to become what we know it as today. But it wasn’t until after World War II that it really took off.

More people started buying cabins in the mountains, and hotels in the high mountains became popular.

In the 1930s, the chocolate bar Kvikk Lunsj, similar to Kit Kat, was introduced, marketed as a hiking companion.

It was a chocolate bar designed to bring along on hikes. It was easy to share and the manufacturer Freia could claim that a Kvikk Lunsj had the same nutritional value as an egg and two pieces of bread with butter.

Another well-known Easter food in Norway is the orange.

Oranges were in season between Christmas and Easter, making them perfect to bring along on hikes.

A hot dog stand from 1989 in Trondheim.

American fast food

But what about sausages?

Although we've had sausages in Norway since the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until the 1950s that we got wiener sausages.

With hot dog stands and snack bars, the American hot dog became popular.

“It's a bit funny because if I ask older people about fast food today, they say sausages. But if I ask younger people, they say hamburgers. That’s because the hamburger came to Norway in the 1980s,” research professor Annechen Bahr Bugge.

Bugge carries out research in the sociology of food, food consumption and eating habits at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO), Oslo Metropolitan University.

Sausages are also seen as very child-friendly and convenient to bring along.

“So sausages on hikes is not an ancient tradition, but it says something about how the country and its food have developed,” Bugge says.

Children eating hot dogs on May 17th, Norway's Constitution Day.

6 out of 10 Norwegians eat sausages monthly

We Norwegians love sausages, and 6 out of 10 of us eat sausages once a month or more. And we mostly eat grilled sausages.

Men, young people, and families with children are the ones who eat the most sausages.

According to NorgesGruppen's figures from 2016, Norwegians eat 37,400 tonnes of sausages every year. That is 7.2 kilograms per person.

It is the equivalent of 12 packages of grilled sausage, or 120 sausages.

“What I find a bit funny is how many meanings sausages have depending on when we eat them. For example, if you eat sausages at a petrol station on a Monday morning, it's not as exciting as on May 17th,” Bugge says.


Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.

Read the Norwegian version of this article on ung.forskning.no


Bugge, A.B. (2019) Fattigmenn, tilslørte bondepiker og rike riddere, Cappelen Damm Akademisk.

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