Laurentic Forum conference

On the 29th and 30th of November, the annual Laurentic Forum conference will be held, which this time will be held as an online conference.

Laurentic Forum is a collaboration of companies and institutions in Iceland, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ireland and Norway, where the goal is to promote innovation to strengthen fragile settlements in the North.

The Laurentic forum has mainly focused on innovation in the tourism and fisheries industries. Therefore, the conference program is divided into conference days, i.e. On November 29, the focus will be on the tourism industry, and on November 30, it's the turn of the fishing industry. Matís is part of the Laurentic Forum network, which deals with the fishing industry, but in addition to Matís, the Icelandic group includes Sjávarklasinn, Byggðastofnún, and the Knowledge Center in Vestmannaeyju.

You can see the conference program at Laurentic Forum website and there is also registration. Special attention is drawn to Alexandra Leeper's presentation at Sjávarklasan, which will discuss the full utilization of marine products.


Information about the bow crisis in the latest Aries directory 

Bógkreppa is a hereditary genetic defect in sheep in Iceland. The defect is likely to be recessive, meaning that in order for lambs to be born with the symptoms of rickets, they must receive the defective gene from both parents.

This means that the genetic defect has been hidden for years in the Icelandic treasury and then unexpectedly pops up. Matís is participating in a project about the search for the genetic defect that causes bow crisis. The research project is funded by the Professional Council for Sheep Breeding, led by the University of Iceland's Institute of Pathology in Keldum, and in addition to Matís, RML is involved in the project.

In the Aries directory 2022-2023, you will find an informative article about the genetic defect. The Aries directory can be accessed by clicking the button below, the article is on pages 52-53.

Want to know more? Also read a previous article about Matís' involvement in the search for genetic factors of bow crisis, below:


Why salt fish?

The workshop "Why saltfish?" was held on September 28, 2022. The goal of the workshop was to share knowledge from various sources, and look for ways to strengthen the position of saltfish in the domestic market. The workshop was attended by about 40 people, culinary students, chefs, producers, marketers, and last but not least, the Minister of Food, Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

Short presentations were given by Matís experts on the history, culture, effectiveness and dewatering of salted fish. Also about the knowledge and attitude of consumers towards salted fish and its consumption in Iceland. The sensory properties of salted fish were presented, and attendees had the opportunity to taste and compare two types of salted fish and two types of salted fish. MK culinary students then presented their ideas behind salted fish dishes, which were served on the table. After that, we worked in three groups, each of which took on a topic of discussion: "What is salted fish - can we call salted fish salted fish?", "How do we reach the young people?" and "How can the product range be increased?"

The results of the workshop showed that it is important to distinguish between what is truly salted fish on the one hand and salted fish on the other. Salted fish, usually lightly salted or overnight salted, does not have the same characteristics as salted fish, which is finished with salt and brine and then dry-salted even for weeks, which gives this product unique properties such as the characteristic flavor and firm texture, after dewatering.

It seems that there are endless opportunities and opportunities for the saltfish. However, we need to pay better for the way of salted fish to the Icelandic market. Saltfish should really be for us Icelanders, on a par with what parma ham is to Italians, at least.

The workshop was held in the building of the Menntaskól in Kópavogur, in collaboration with Matís, Grím Kokk, Klúbbs Cultreiðslumeista, Menntaskól in Kópavogur and Icelandic saltfish producers. The workshop is part of the project Saltfiskkræsingar (e.g. Trendy Cod) that Matís oversees, and which NORA and AG-Fisk (Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbejdet) on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers have provided funding for.

Vinnslustöðin hf and KG Fiskverkun donated salted fish to the workshop.

Find out more about the project Saltfiskkræsingar, by clicking the button below:

Cover photo of saltfish: Lárus Karl Ingvarsson


Fibrous and healthy skin?

An interview with Ásta Heiðrúna E. Pétursdóttir, director of public health and food safety at Matís, was published in Bændablaðin last October 20. There, Ásta reports on the preliminary results of the research project "Fibre-rich and healthy skin? " which is sponsored by the Food Fund.

In the project Fiber-rich and healthy skin? By-products of fruits and vegetables are being studied to form skins and peels, which are usually thrown away. Various ways of utilizing these side products are being investigated, along with investigating the role of pesticides. Differences between pesticides in Icelandic and imported vegetables were studied and it was interesting to see that the results showed that there are more pesticides in imported vegetables than in Icelandic ones.

The results give us evidence of an increased use of pesticides, but as Ásta reports in the interview, more samples need to be taken in order to be able to draw conclusions from the results.

The interview in its entirety can be found in the 19th issue of the farmer's newspaper, on page 22, by clicking here


Family technology day

Matís and Verkmenntaskóli Austurland recently organized the Innovation Competition of the primary schools in Fjarðabyggð, and this is the second time that such a competition has been held. Junior high school students took part in the Innovation Competition and had six weeks to come up with ideas for the possible use of seaweed and kelp from the area.

This year, the award ceremony took place on the family's Technology Day, which was held in Neskaupstaður on October 1st. The purpose of the Technology Day is to promote the technical and scientific work carried out in the East, as well as to promote the work of the Vocational School of the East, and it was therefore appropriate to announce the winner of the competition on the Technology Day.

The teachers in Fjarðabyggðar's primary schools did an excellent job in helping the students implement the ideas, and in addition to them, two "mentors" were recruited to help with the project, they were Dr. Hildur Inga Sveinsdóttir (Matís) and Dr. Guðrún Svana Hilmarsdóttir.

In order to decide the winner of the competition, judges from the local community who have a lot of experience from different fields were brought in. This year's judges were Arnfríður Eide Hafþórsdóttir, human resources and safety manager of Fur Processing, Hjördís Helga Seljan Þóroddsdóttir, president of the town council in Fjarðabyggð and Guðmundur Rafnkell Gíslason, manager of the Shipowners' Cooperative in Neskaupstað. The task of the judges was great as about 30 solutions were received from the elementary schools.

The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was hired to present the award and he did so at a ceremony on Technology Day. Suffice it to say that the project Seaweed plastic won and it was the students Júlíus Sigurðarson and Svanur Hafthórsson from Nesskóli who were responsible for the project. The jury had this to say about the project: "In the opinion of the jury, there is a lot of innovation in the project and the authors have a great vision of how the project can change the world."

Second place went to the project Beach salt but they were Þór Theódorsson and Stefanía Guðrún Birgisdóttir from Nesskóli. The jury had the following to say about the project: "the idea is ambitious for the use of mountain and sea, and it would be exciting to see it come to market."

The project won third place Seaweed paint and they were Anna Ragnarsdóttir, Ólafía Danuta Bergsdóttir and Kolka Dögg Ómarsdóttir from Eskifjarðar School, and the jury described the project in the following way: "extremely original idea and great innovation present."

Stefán Þór Eysteinsson was project manager on behalf of Matís. Matís would like to express special thanks to Birgis Jónsson, the project manager from the Vocational School of East Iceland, the jury, teachers, school administrators, "mentors", the President of Iceland and all those involved in the project.

Below you can see a video from the winning project:


GIANT LEAPS – Acceleration of change towards new dietary proteins

Matís is participating in a new project funded by Horizon Europe. The project, called Giant Leaps, aims to accelerate the transition from animal proteins to new food proteins.

This change in diet is the key to transforming the food system in terms of environmental impact and improving the health and well-being of people, animals and the planet. The project will deliver strategic innovations, methodologies and open data to accelerate such changes accordingly Farm-to-Fork the strategy and the goal of the European Green Deal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Achieving the dietary shift in practice is inherently complex due to the diverse set of actors involved and further hindered by major knowledge gaps – scattered across the various alternative protein sources and the domains of health (safety, allergenicity and digestibility), environment (GHGs and other environmental and climate impacts, biodiversity, circularity), and/or barriers to adoption (technological, sensory, and consumer acceptance).

New technologies and improved methods, together with accessible and comprehensive information about novel proteins, will enable policymakers to prioritize changes in the food system. It will also be useful for stakeholders in the food value chain to make strategic decisions in research, trade and investment. In addition, the public gets a more sustainable and healthy alternative to diet.

The GIANT LEAPS group consists of 34 partners from all over Europe, from start-ups to universities and research institutes. At the beginning of September, the project manager, Dr. Paul Vos from Wageningen Research, the first meeting of the project in Wageningen, Holland. There, the partners had the opportunity to meet and plan the 4-year project.

Matís is involved in developing and characterisation of novel alternative proteins developed in the project; their value chain mapping; assessment of circularity potential, impacts on sustainability, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and climate change mitigation potential.

Follow the Giant Leap project on LinkedIn and Twitter, where you can monitor the progress of the project.


Nordic Salmon workshop

Nordic Salmon workshop will be held on October 19 at the town hall in Ölfus. The meeting is held in collaboration with Ölfus Cluster in Þorlákshöfn.

This workshop aim is to connect and support a broad range of stakeholders working in the salmon farming industry in the Nordic region, with the focus of exploring options and feasibility for secondary processing. This group includes salmon farms, sales and marketing, technical designers, processing equipment developers, research groups and transport/freight companies.

The objective of the project is to establish a network of specialists to analyze if secondary processing of salmon is a feasible option in the Nordic. The group will then evaluate the viable production scale and list necessary tasks and suggestions to achieve the overall objective.

The original idea behind this project is to use knowledge transfer from the Icelandic fresh cod industry success to the Nordic salmon industry to facilitate valorisation and create jobs in the Nordic countries. By using the future “smart” secondary processing factories and make ready-to-eat production economically feasible, provide added value to the Nordic salmon industry. Filleted salmon and portions will reduce export cost and allows local utilisation and processing of side products that are currently exported, such as cut-offs, bones and heads, as well as reducing the carbon footprint.

Registration has begun!

Register by clicking the register button below:

The workshop will be held in English.

Draft schedule:

08:30 Opening the workshop: Short introduction to the SWOT analysis, Sæmundur Elíasson
08:45 Address, Elliði Vignisson, mayor of Ölfus municipality
09:00-10:30 Session 1Competitiveness in secondary processing in the Nordics

  1. Halldor Thorkelson, Marel
  2. Frank Yri, Seaborn/Iceborn
  3. Per Alfred Holte, Maritech

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee

11:00 – 12:30 Session 2: Marketing and environmental footprint

  1. Ingólfur Friðriksson, EEA affair, Ministry of foreign affairs
  2. Sigurður Pétursson, Nova Food
    1. "Consumer decision making and carbon footprint"
  3. Audun Iversen, Nofima
  4. Jón Hafbo Atlason, Hiddenfjord

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 - 14:45 Session 3: Side streams production

  1. Matti Isohätälä, Hätälä
  2.  Dennis Lohman, BAADER

14:45 Coffee break

15:15 – 16:00 Discussions and Round up

16:00 Closing

17:00 Refreshments at Lax-inn Mýrargatu 26, 101 Reykjavík


From idea to table

Conference in Denmark 25-26 April 2023

The key to developing a good product in the spirit of sustainability is to use the power of sensory science to bridge the gap between science, industry and consumers. The title of the conference is "From idea to consumption" and at the conference we will examine the process from idea to market, with an emphasis on sustainability, the challenges that such a process often entails and the important role that sensory evaluation plays in the development of quality and sustainable food and beverage product.

Professionals and scientists who work on sensory assessment, quality issues and consumer issues in the field of food and other consumer products will have the opportunity to meet and compare their books. The conference is also chosen to promote connections and opportunities in the Nordic areas. Sensory evaluation, for example evaluation of quality and consumer issues, is an important link in the work that takes place in companies that produce and sell consumer goods.

The Nordic Sensory Workshop is a Nordic conference that has been held approximately every other year. The conference is attended by experts in the field of sensory evaluation and consumer research in the Nordic countries who also take turns hosting the conference. This year, Denmark (Teknologisk Institut) is in charge of planning with help from Nordic partners in Iceland (Matís), Norway (NOFIMA), RISE (The Swedish Research Institute) and Finland (VTT-Technical Research Center of Finland).

The conference will be held on April 25-26, 2023, Gregersenvej 1, 2630 Taastrup, Denmark.

Registration will open in January 2023, but you can sign up for the reminder list by email to the following address:

More information about the conference can be accessed by clicking here or by sending an inquiry to Kolbrúna Sveinsdóttir at Matís at the email address

Peer-reviewed articles

Connecting the dots: An interdisciplinary perspective on climate change effects on whales and whale watching in Skjálfandi Bay, Iceland

The paper presents a synthesis of some of the interdisciplinary work from the ARCPATH project that focuses on the effects of climate change on Arctic social-ecological systems. It does so through the prism of whales and their recreational ecosystem services (ES). Whales present a group of species that are vulnerable to climate change and, at the same time, are central to the economies, cultures, and identities of many Arctic coastal communities. One such community is the town of Húsavík in Skj ́alfandi Bay, Iceland. The paper conducts an initial literature review to examine the effects of climate change on whales, globally, before using these findings and site-specific data from climate change modeling, whale observations from whale watching boats and whale watching trip records to investigate possible future impacts on whale watching in Skj ́alfandi Bay. The literature review identifies three categories of impacts on whales due to climate change, which concern changing distributions and migration, prey availability, and sea-ice and ocean temperature. Linear regression models identify statistically significant relationships between sea-surface temperatures (SST) and cetacean sightings for minke whales, blue whales and white-beaked-dolphins over the period 1995 to 2017. These species appear to have changed their usual feeding areas, and the results imply that further increases in SST are likely to further affect whale distributions. Future climate scenarios indicate that at least 2 ◦C of SST warming in Skj ́alfandi Bay up to 2050 might be inevitable regardless of the future emissions scenario, which implies almost certain change that would require adaptation. The reliance of the local tourism sector on whale watching makes Húsavík vulnerable to the effects of climate change on whales. The results of this interdisciplinary inquiry emphasize the interconnectedness of different components of social-ecological systems and calls for adaptation planning that would enhance the resilience of local communities to climate change and conservation measures that could enhance the protection of whales beyond the scope of the current whale sanctuary in Skjálfandi Bay.

Link to article


Cooperation with the Sea Cluster on the full utilization of fish in Canada

Ever since the establishment of the Sea Cluster in 2011, Matís has had a good and successful collaboration with the cluster itself and the companies in it. It has been an adventure to participate in and observe how the cluster has flourished and produced new companies, products and valuables for the benefit of the country and the nation.

Among the projects that are being worked on at the moment is consulting with the authorities and companies around the Great Lakes in Canada in terms of the full utilization of the catch available there. The project is carried out in connection with the philosophy of 100%fish. Last week, a group associated with the project came to record promotional material at Matís' laboratories. For the group, dr. Alexandra Leeper, research & development director of Sjávarklasan, who is also a former employee of Matís. Here are some photos from the visit. Matís' staff is particularly proud to participate in the collaboration with Sjávarklasann.