Contemporary Use of Traditional and Imported Food among Greenlandic Inuit


  • Tine Pars
  • Merete Osler
  • Peter Bjerregaard



traditional food, diet, food preferences, food frequency questionnaire, Greenland, Inuit


A health interview survey was carried out in Greenland in 1993-94 among randomly selected adult Inuit (N = 1580) to gather information about people's perceptions of their own health and living conditions. Questions about preference for and frequency of consumption of selected traditional and imported food items were included in the questionnaire. Preference ratings show that traditional food was well liked in all age groups, but especially by the elders. The questionnaire showed more pronounced differences between age groups in how frequently traditional foods were consumed. Residence in a village or a remote part of the country, male gender, and a trditional upbringing were also good predictors of a high consumption of traditional food. On average, seal meat was the most frequently consumed traditional food, eaten daily by 20% of respondents, followed by fish (17%), wildfowl (10%), whale meat (6%), and terrestrial animals (2%). Imported food items like potatoes, cheese, and fruit syrup were consumed daily by more than 70%. Two concerns for the future are the decreasing consumption of traditional food among the younger generations and the possible contribution of contaminants in traditional food to this trend.