A good week for Icelandic food production and Matís' partners

The development of Icelandic oat milk, protein powder from mackerel stream streams and value creation in algae processing are among the new projects of Matís and partners

Last week, Icelandic food producers and partners at Matís proved successful, with twelve projects that Matís received a grant from the Food Fund when the fund announced its first allocation. A few days earlier, Rannís had announced that a collaborative project led by Matís had received significant funding from the Market Plan for Social Challenges to work on the development of sustainable domestic fertilizers. There were also reports that the European Framework Program for Research and Innovation (H2020) had approved funding for projects in which Matís participates in the field of biotechnology. This great result clearly shows the strength and importance of Matís' collaboration with companies, institutions and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes, both domestically and abroad. 

Matís' goal is to support research and innovation in the food and biotechnology industry, and these results show that collaboration with the company is a good option. Matís employs about 100 specialists in various fields when it comes to food production and biotechnology. These employees are proud to take part in these aforementioned research and innovation projects, and to have the opportunity to work with forward-looking companies, institutions and entrepreneurs in shaping the future. Below is a brief overview of the 14 projects that were completed last week.

The picture shows the distribution of new projects by Matís and partners around the country.

Icelandic Food Innovation Fund (is. Matvælasjóður)

Development of Icelandic oat milk: Sandhóll bú ehf. in Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla received a grant for the development of oat milk from domestic raw materials. Oat milk from Icelandic oats is a novelty in Iceland that will increase the value of domestic oat production, and replaces imported oat milk and therefore has, among other things, less carbon footprint than the imported product. Sandhóll enjoyed Matís 'loyal assistance in formulating the project and in writing the application, and Sandhóll will use Matís' services in the implementation of the project. Matís sincerely congratulates the couple at Sandhóll, Hellen M. Gunnarsdóttir and Erni Karlsson, on their grant.

Healing power of organic whey in a jar: Biobú ehf. received a grant for the development of cosmetics from organic whey. In 2009, a study was carried out at Matís where the bioactivity of whey was measured, but the study showed that whey has antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Following on from these positive results, a study was started on the utilization of whey in face cream in collaboration with Bíóbú. Those projects were funded by Milk in Many Figures (MiMM) and the Agricultural Productivity Fund. Biobú now intends to continue this development and innovation project, so that valuable products will be produced and marketed from this underutilized raw material. Biobú enjoyed Matís' loyal assistance in shaping the project and in writing the application. Biobú will use Matís' services in the implementation of the project. Matís warmly congratulates the owners and staff of Biobú on the grant.

Protein powder from mackerel sidestreams: The herring processing plant in Neskaupstaður (SVN) received a grant to develop and produce fish protein hydrolysates from tributaries that are generated during the processing of mackerel and assess the feasibility of using them in starter feed for salmon farming, as well as for human consumption. Mackerel is one of the most important pelagic species in Iceland and more than 100,000 tonnes are processed in the country every year, with the associated amount of tributaries (heads, viscera and cuttings). Until now, these tributaries have only been used for the production of fishmeal and fish oil, and there are therefore great opportunities to increase their value. SVN is the owner of the project, but if the project achieves the desired results, it will be of significant importance for the pelagic sector as a whole, as well as for feed and aquaculture companies in this country. SVN has already made a significant investment to carry out this research and development work, and it is therefore particularly positive that the Food Fund also has faith in the project. SVN and Fóðurverksmiðjan Laxá are responsible for the project and enjoyed Matís' assistance in shaping the project and in preparing the application. SVN will use Matís 'services for the project, where Matís' employees in Neskaupstaður will play a key role. Matís sincerely congratulates the forward-thinking owners, management and staff of SVN on the grant.

Forest system - Weeds or underutilized food resource: Sýslið verkstöð ehf. in Hólmavík received a grant to explore the possibility of using a forest system in food. The county workshop received Matís 'assistance in shaping the project and will use the assistance of Matís' experts in the implementation. Matís sincerely congratulates Ásta Þórisdóttir, owner of Sýslið verkstöð, on the grant.

Processing of salmon products in Iceland: Where are the opportunities for filleting and by-products: Freysteinn Nonni Mánason received a grant to carry out a preliminary survey on the feasibility of increased processing of salmon products at Oddi in Patreksfjörður. Employees of Matís and the University of Iceland will play a guiding role in the project. Matís congratulates Freystein on his grant and this interesting project.

New antioxidants and stability of mackerel flour: The herring processing plant in Neskaupstaður (SVN), together with Skinney-Þinganes, Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja and Matís received funding to assess the stability of Icelandic mackerel flour and examine the properties and effectiveness of various antioxidants with a view to finding a suitable successor to ETQ, which was recently banned. The substance ETQ has been used in the Icelandic fishmeal industry for many years due to how effective it is in counteracting the development of fat in flour. Following the ban, fishmeal producers have encountered problems with the formation of heat in mackerel meal, which can be directly attributed to the development of fat in the meal. Heat generation in flour can significantly reduce the value of the flour due to damage to it, but there is also a risk of self-ignition in the flour. This is an extremely important project for the entire pelagic sector and society as a whole. Matís' experts are excited to start working on this important project. Matís' work on the project will largely be done in the company's branch in Neskaupstaður.

Oatmeal: The Agricultural University, in collaboration with Matís, received a grant to promote a new sector of Icelandic grain cultivation by identifying the best oat cultivars in terms of cultivation and quality. The foundation will be laid in the project to start targeted breeding of oats for Icelandic conditions. This type of grain cultivation will be introduced to farmers and the cultivation limits will be examined. Special attention will be paid to the Nordic countries in this connection. Matís congratulates the Agricultural University on the grant and the company's experts are excited to start the work.

Shark effect: Matís and Bjarnarhöfn Stykkishólmur received a grant to gain new knowledge about the complex changes that take place during shark chewing and drying and make it this special food it is, with the aim of reducing fluctuations in product quality, standardizing production and promoting to the possible export of this unique food. The best shark is popular with tourists and is often talked about on online media as the national dish of Icelanders. There is interest in buying sharks from Iceland, but there are difficulties in exporting due to traditional production methods and the product does not have an export license. It is likely that this interesting and timely project will open up new opportunities for value creation of underutilized raw materials. Matís congratulates Bjarnarhöfn on the grant and expects a successful collaboration in the coming year.

Valuable material from sideline algae processing: Matís, the University of Iceland, Thorverk, Þörungaklaustur, Ora and Síldarvinnslan in Neskaupstaður received funding to explore the possibility of increased processing to increase the value of algae, as well as the development of methods to extract them. Subsequently, it can be assumed that there will be great opportunities for innovation and, if successful, that the competitiveness of Icelandic producers will be strengthened, through the utilization of natural additives that are made in a sustainable way from organic raw materials. Matís congratulates partners on the grant.

Analysis of ringworms in fillets: Matís, University of Iceland, Marel, Vísir hf. and SFS received funding to evaluate the potential and feasibility of utilizing multispectral imaging (MSI) technology to detect ringworms in fillets. This is a huge interest for the fishing industry and the economy as a whole, and Matís' experts are proud and excited about the project, in addition to which they are grateful for the collaboration with these powerful partners.

Stress salmon fishing: Matís, Skaginn 3X and Arctic Fish received funding to develop and verify a new type of pump for pumping live salmonids. This pump will improve the handling of live fish, reduce stress and reduce the cost and quality of aquaculture companies. The project will largely be carried out in the Westfjords. Matís expects a lot from this interesting project.

Vegetable value chain: Matís, Háskóli Íslands and Samkaup received grants to improve quality, shelf life and reduce waste in the value chain of Icelandic vegetables. The aim of the project is to strengthen the vegetable sector in Iceland with new knowledge that supports the development of the sector, which means increased production, more employment opportunities and an increased supply of nutritious products. The opportunities are based on a larger domestic market share and exports. This is a very exciting project that Matís' experts are interested in starting in the new year.

Marketing plan for societal challenges

Matís, Atmonía ehf., Landbúnaðarháskólinn, Nýsköpunarmiðstöð, Landgræðslan and Landsvirkjun received grants to improve the utilization of domestic resources and by-products with the aim of producing sustainable fertilizers for Icelandic agriculture and land reclamation. The project will last for two years and will probably have a very large financial and environmentally friendly impact on Icelandic society. Matís congratulates partners on the grant.

H2020 - European Framework Program for Research and Innovation

Matís, together with a number of partners across Europe, received a € 7.5 million grant last week to analyze and develop bioactive ingredients from natural ingredients. Matís' project component will be based on the results of extensive research into the marine environment, including individual microbial communities of marine hotspots along the country's shores. The project will run for four years and Matís' share is 600 thousand Euros, or about 90 million ISK.

As you can see from the list above, there are exciting times ahead. In the coming months, the various funds, domestic and international, will be open to applications. If you are interested in increasing value, utilization and sustainability and creating jobs, we encourage you to contact Matís to discuss the possibility of collaboration. Matís is a key partner in research and innovation in the field of food and biotechnology in Iceland. We conduct research and innovation for your benefit.

The contact person for applications is

When the public limited company Matís was founded in 2007, half of the company's income was secured through a service agreement with the state. The value of the agreement at the beginning was around ISK 700 million. (1200 million at today's exchange rate). However, it was a joint decision of Matís and the authorities to reduce the weight of this agreement and that instead the company should apply for a competition fund, which would further ensure that the projects being worked on are macroeconomically important as well as important for food producers in the country. Matís' annual income from a service agreement with the state is now almost 400 million, about 25% of the company's turnover, which is intended to ensure security services in the field of food safety and support research and innovation in food production in Iceland. About 75% of the revenue comes from domestic and foreign competition funds, as well as from direct sales of services and consulting.