Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

From the farm to your plate: Farmer-to-consumer marketing is on the rise in Iceland

By Sara McMahon

  • Straight from the farm. Farmer-to-consumer marketing is on the rise in Iceland. Photo/Valgarður Gíslason

The Beint frá býli organization supports direct farmer-to-consumer marketing, which has become increasingly popular in Iceland over the past few years. Consumers view direct marketing as a way of gaining access to fresh, high- quality foods while minimizing their ecological footprint, and farmers see it as an alternative market outlet to increase their income.


The concept “Beint frá býli”, which translates as “Straight from the Farm,” enables Icelandic farmers to cut out the “middle man” and sell their products directly to consumers. Members of the organization sell their products through different outlets, i.e., farmers’ markets, roadside stands or on the farm itself. The Beint frá býli organization dates back to 2004 when the Minister of Agriculture appointed a committee to examine whether and how Icelandic farmers could manufacture and sell home-made products within set regulations.

Various associations and institutes are behind Beint frá býli, including Hólar University College, Icelandic Farm Holidays, and the Farmers Association of Iceland. Forty-six farms all over the country were among the founders of Beint frá býli, and the number has now grown to around one hundred.

"My hope is that in ten years’ time, home-made farm products will be as common and accessible here as in neighbouring countries.” 

According to Guðmundur Jón Guðmundsson, chairman of Beint frá býli, the organization’s main goal is to lend support to farmers engaged in sustainable farming and to promote consumer access to local foods. Products that have been approved by Beint frá býli receive a quality stamp from the organization. Products labelled Gæðamerki (Quality label) are produced regionally, using local ingredients and in many instances traditional production methods.

“Consumers want accountability and to buy clean food instead of, for example minced meat with added water to give extra weight to the product,” he explains. “But there is still a long way to go. My hope is that in ten years’ time, home-made farm products will be as common and accessible here as in neighbouring countries.” 

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Frú Lauga’s Farmers Market in Laugarlækur, Reykjavík, was founded in 2009 by husband and wife, Arnar Bjarnason and Rakel Halldórsdóttir. The beautiful, little shop carries local produce, meat, and dairy products as well as selected products from abroad, including olive oil, chocolate, and Italian pasta. In late 2012, the couple opened their second store in Óðinsgata, in down-town Reykjavík.
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Turning the old into something new
Arnheiður Hjörleifsdóttir lives on the farm Bjarteyjarsandur in Hvalfjörður fjord with her husband, Guðmundur Sigurjónsson, and their daughter. The family raises livestock on the farm, offers accommodation, and runs a shop where they sell their products directly to consumers. Their products, which include lamb meat, organic pork, jam, smoked lamb, and bjúga, a traditional smoked sausage, as well as jam, are only available at the little farm shop. 
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Traditional skyr and tasty ice cream
Husband and wife Helga Elínborg Guðmundsdóttir and Þorgrímur Guðbjartsson run the dairy farm Erpsstaðir in Búðardalur, West Iceland. Besides raising livestock, the couple produces dairy products such as the ice -cream brand Kjaftæði, cheese, and delicious treats made from skyr, a traditional dairy product similar to strained yoghurt. 
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