Made in the Westfjords ❤️

The Westfjords region is pure and clean partly thanks to the fact that it does not have large-scale industry. This doesn’t mean there’s nothing being made here, though. Far from it.

Fishing and farming have historically been the backbones of the Westfjords economy. Tourism has grown in the last couple of decades but still remains largely seasonal.
Look a little deeper and there’s plenty more.

Kelp Processing

Kelp, a kind of large seaweed that flourishes in salty waters, is processed and sold as cosmetic products, dietary supplements, and skincare. Thorverk, a seaweed processing factory, is on the island of Karsley below Reykhólar village. The USP of this factory is seaweed harvested from Breiðafjörður bay. Two different types of kelp are dried with the use of geothermal energy and made into powders which are sold, primarily to businesses, around the world.

Delicious weed

Using some of the same kelp resources, but mixing them with mussels, fish, and other sustainable local products, Fine Foods Íslandica makes broths, marinades, and rubs for fancy kitchens. Made in the Westfjords, sold in speciality outlets around Iceland, and used by foodies around the world.

Amazing algae

Hafkalk in the village of Bíldudalur uses calcified algae to manufacture fertiliser, animal feed, raw materials for further food production and dietary supplement production, and raw materials for water purification. The company exports much of its animal feed straight from the Westfjords to Saudi Arabia, while most of its calciferous algae for water purification goes to France, and raw materials for food production and dietary supplements to the UK. In the end, the raw materials end up all over the world. Further to this, the company also sees many of its products repackaged in Ireland and sold on to the rest of the world.

Miraculous fish skin

In the very heart of this remote region is nestled a huge project that is benefitting humankind in a big way. Kerecis provides fish skin, extensively processed until medical grade sterility is achieved, yet still rich in naturally occurring Omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. When used on damaged human tissue, the material uses the body’s own cells and is ultimately converted into living tissue. Kerecis was established in 2009 as a research project in Ísafjörður. Commercial operations started in 2013. Ten years later, the company was sold to a Danish multinational for over a billion dollars. It still has its main offices, research and manufacturing facilities in Ísafjörður. People around the globe are today recovering from burns and other severe wounds significantly faster thanks to this Westfjords enterprise.


Only slightly less miraculous is the wonderful taste of Sætt & Salt chocolate, with its multitude of different flavours and intricate designs – all made in the village of Súðavík, 20 minutes from Ísafjörður. Originally a one-woman cottage industry, the company has since moved to a dedicated factory, which still welcomes visitors on tasting tours, and which has become a nationally recognised brand in the process.


Not so long ago, dairy products were nearly always synonymous with lactose – but then the lactose-free revolution began. In Iceland, that movement was spearheaded by Arna in Bolungarvík.

Using milk from local farmers, the company launched production in 2013 under the eyes of Hálfdán Óskarsson, a dairy technician from Ísafjörður. He thought of starting his own business after the local packing plant for national dairy giant MS was closed down in 2011. Arna now manufactures 41 different lactose-free products, including half-fat milk, full-fat cream, AB-milk with Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, salad cheese, skyr, and yogurts. It has a line of protein drinks, and a line of delicious plant-based oat milk products as well. All are sold nationwide.

Hard fish

Icelandic harðfiskur, or dried fish, has been part of local food heritage for centuries now. Essentially cod or haddock that has been dried and torn into strips, it is the quintessential Icelandic snack-to be enjoyed with an optional dash of butter. It is a popular and healthy snack manufactured all around Iceland—but the Westfjords harðfiskur enjoys the reputation of being Iceland’s best.

You can find local brands in the supermarket (just check where it is made) but can also buy them directly from producers.

Salt of the earth

Saltverk at Reykjanes was the world’s first company commercially producing 100% sustainable artisan salt from the pure sea waters found around the Reykjanes peninsula. Why sustainable? It’s because the seawater is evaporated using natural geothermal heat instead of fire or electricity.

It is made with a 200-year-old technique first brought to the area by the king of Denmark, who was dissatisfied that Icelandic fish was being salted for export using expensive imported salt. What was wrong with the salt in the sea around Iceland? Nothing, it turns out!

Today, Saltverk produces a beautiful flaky salt with a distinct flavour which cooks go wild for. The company makes special versions of its salt with added smoked birch, Arctic thyme, charcoal, liquorice, and more. All are delicious.

Fish farming

While environmentally controversial, there is no ignoring the economic impact aquaculture, or fish farming, is having in the Westfjords region. From small experimental beginnings a couple of decades ago, to tens of thousands of tonnes of salmon and other fish being produced today, the region is at the forefront of the rapidly growing industry on the national level—and increasingly the international level too.

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