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Policy: Policy Action Plan

Reykjavik Resources & Context

Stakeholder name Availability Expertise/skills Link to CRFS theme
Reykjavík City Municipality available to some extent, there
is one person working on food
All aspects of society on a municipal level, including the food system, e.g., public health, education
services, urban gardens, etc.
governance; inclusion; public health
Matís - Icelandic Food
Research, Development &

Food-related innovation and R&D, education, food safety and nutrition measurements

innovation; food safety; security


Reykjavik Vision

Policy landscape
Aim: Identify policy gap

CRFS policy
Create a list of policies that relate to CRFS.
This overview is divided into policy areas
production / processing / distribution /
market / consumption / waste / security /
ecosystem / livelihood / inclusion
Describe the policy: its approach and main goals. Please keep this succinct as this section aims to merely set out the elements contained
within the policy landscape.
Generally you can stop drawing the policy landscape after this point as policy gaps are evident.

Reykjavík Food Policy 2018-2022 2018
City of Reykjavík

A comprehensive policy for development of food system in Reykjavík with seven focus areas for improvement: shorter and more
localized food value chains; in-creased sustainability and quality; improved access to healthy food; improved food culture; and reduced
food waste.
Food Policy for Iceland until 2030 2022
The Government of Iceland
Emphasizes increasing local food production and value along the value chain, reducing food waste and carbon footprint in general. The
five focus areas of the policy are value creation, consumers, appearance and safety, environment, and public health.
Reykjavík Climate Action Plan 2021-2025
2021 City of Reykjavík
Food is the focus of Target 7 of the Circular Thinking objective of the plan, stating that the city ́s food policy will be implemented, and
cooperation will be organized for green agriculture project in Kjalarnes (even though it is not entirely clear what this entails).
The Reykjavík Green Deal 2022
City of Reykjavík
In this City of Reykjavík Strategy until 2030, food is central to the Objective 4 on improved access to wholesome outdoor recreation
opportunities and food, where the emphasis is put on increasing sus-tainable and local food production and decreasing food waste.
The Agricultural Policy of Iceland: Let’s Grow Iceland (Ræktum Ísland!) 2021 The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture Highlights ten main policy areas: land use, land use planning and classification, food security, biodi-versity, environmental protection,
global marketing, consumers, the fourth industrial revolution, edu-cation, research, development, and financial relations between the
state and farmers. A 22-step action plan is provided to achieve those goals.
The Environmental Policy of Kjósarhreppur
2020 Kjósarhreppur
The policy states that Kjósarhreppur municipality in the capital area of Reykjavik wants to be a model in sustainable and clean food
produc-tion in Iceland while supporting ecological and organic agriculture. It encourages new policies and trends in the processing and
sale of products and diverse innovation in the food culture of agricultural products.
Reykjavík Food Policy 2018-2022 2018
City of Reykjavík
A comprehensive policy for development of food system in Reykjavík with seven focus areas for improvement: shorter and more
localized food value chains; in-creased sustainability and quality; improved access to healthy food; improved food culture; and reduced
food waste.
The Reykjavík Green Deal 2022
City of Reykjavík
In this City of Reykjavík Strategy until 2030, food is central to the Objective 4 on improved access to wholesome outdoor recreation
opportunities and food, where the emphasis is put on increasing sus-tainable and local food production and decreasing food waste.
Action Plan Against Food Waste 2021 The Ministry of Environment and Natural
Presents a 24-point working plan against food waste in Iceland, with the main goal to reduce the food waste along the whole value chain by 30% in 2025 and by 50% in 2050. The plan covers different parts of the food value chain where waste occurs and could be reduced,
from laws against wasteful agricultural practices, to introduc-tion of organic waste bins in cities and ban of disposal of organic material in
landfills (as of 2023).
Waste collection in the Greater Reykjavík
Area: suggestions by the working group on synchronising the waste system 2022
The suggestions of the working group from the municipalities in the Reykjavík Greater Area for synchronizing the waste sorting and
collection system, which in-clude having one system of waste sorting and collecting in the whole capital area.
Public Health Policy of Kópavogur 2016
Kópavogur Municipality
Mentions reducing food waste as a desirable goal.
Environmental Policy of Mosfellsbær 2019 –
2030 2020 Mosfellsbær Municipality
Mentions reducing food waste as a desirable goal.
Environment and Natural Resource Policy of
Hafnarfjörður 2018 Hafnarfjörður
Reducing food waste is one of the goals of the municipality’s environmental policy.
Priorities and Procedures for Policy Making
in the Food Sector (Áherslur og verklag við
stefnumótum á svíði matvæla) 2022
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Lists the status, main directions, procedures, and priorities of the Icelandic national policies for food, fisheries, agriculture and
aquaculture for the coming years. Big emphasis on environment, value creation, self-reliance and food security, but no specific mention
of cities.
Priorities and Procedures for Policy Making
in the Food Sector (Áherslur og verklag við
stefnumótum á svíði matvæla) 2022
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Lists the status, main directions, procedures, and priorities of the Icelandic national policies for food, fisheries, agriculture and
aquaculture for the coming years. Big emphasis on environment, value creation, self-reliance and food security, but no specific mention
of cities.
Other: Public health  
Public Health and Prevention Policy of
Mosfellsbær 2022 Mosfellsbær
Mentions the importance of access to healthy food to public health.
Public Health and Prevention Policy of
Garðabær 2021, Garðabær Municipality
Discusses the importance of healthy food to public health.
Sport, leisure and public health
policy of Seltjarnarnesbær, Seltjarnarnes
Discusses the importance of healthy and varied nutrition for health and wellbeing.


Identify the policy gap
Based on the overview above, assess if a policy gap exists. Identify where the policy gap is located; the policy area or policy (instrument) type.
The main policy gaps identified in the Reykjavík Capital Area CRFS policy scan:
  • City region is made up of six different municipalities that do not communicate or synchronize their work in the area of food– need for dialogue
  • Apart from Reykjavík City, other five municipalities don’t have a dedicated food policy, but mostly mention reducing food waste and improving access to healthy food
  • Lack of mainstreaming food into different areas of city’s policy: city planning, public health, education, culture, tourism
  • Encouraging citizens to shift to more sustainable (and healthy) diets – not clear how this is done
  • Lack of planning for food security – contingency plans needed for ensuring food security in different scenarios, food security policy on a national/regional/city levels
  • Not a lot of information on how socio-economic status affects food security and access to healthy and sustainable food – research on this is needed
  • Increasing the accessibility of grocery stores without using private transport – not clear how this could be done
  • Decreasing the level of reliance on imported food – incentivising local food production and consumption, urban farming, including aquaculture, e.g., through financial support mechanisms, public procurement of locally produced food - not being done
  • Lack of funding behind policy actions - a major issue
  • Experimental and neighbourhood vegetable gardens in Reykjavík – need funding for that, which is currently not present
  • Improving food culture by increasing number of vegetable/organic markets in the city – Need funding for that: organization, advertising, space
  • Reducing food waste by 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2050 – the municipalities do not have concrete actions listed and lack funding
  • Shorter and more visible path from farmer to stomach – product labelling, city-supported vegetable gardens, public information campaigns are mentioned but have not been implemented in practice
  • Lack of knowledge and information about sustainable food systems, where food comes from, what its health and environmental impacts are, etc. – need for research, systemising  knowledge, education
  • The role of consumers/citizens is not clear – lack of initiative and agency from civic society, with the exception of the movement against food waste
  • Lack of diversity in local food production – need for initiatives to increase this diversity, e.g., by increasing local and urban food production, supporting small retailers, farmers,  and citizen groups to develop innovative solutions for enhancing food system diversity
  • Adaptation to climate change – no information how the CRFS can cope with changing climate and how is ability could be increased
  • Finding out how much food is actually produced, processed and sold in the capital area, how much is imported, and what is the potential for increasing local food production.
  • Statistics Iceland is working on preparing information disaggregated on regional/city level.


CRFS landscape
Aim: create a snapshot of the CRFS characteristics

Key characteristic of the CRFS Description
Food production  
Many types of food is produced in reykjavik
capital Area, but around half of daily caloric
intake in Iceland comes from imported food

Most types of food are produced in the Reykjavík capital area, but with over 60% of the population concentrated here it is inevitable that its food system depends on food and feed brought in from other parts of Iceland and from abroad. Around half of the daily caloric intake of Icelanders comes from imported food. Food is first imported to the capital area and then distributed to the rest of the country. It has been estimated that if food production became entirely local without changing the cur-rent mix of crops grown, there would be a 50% reduction in diversity (from 50 to 25 items in eight out of ten food categories). Iceland is a major exporter of fish, and is almost self- sufficient in meat and dairy production, but imports close to close to 100% of current cereals, oils, and fruits. A large share of vegetables (61%), beans and nuts (50%), and beverages (39%) is also imported (2015 data).

Food production is an important part of the
economy in the capital area
Food production is an important part of the Icelandic economy: in 2010, food and beverage production accounted for 45.5% of the total value of manufactured products sold in Iceland, the fishing industry being by far the largest sector, creating 71.2% of the total value produced by the food industry and constituting 36% of exports by value, while other agricultural exports were around 3.6% in 2010.
According to Orkustofnun (2017), there were 22890 sq.m. of greenhouses in the Greater Reykjavík area in 2017, which made up around
11,9% of all greenhouses in Iceland.
Potential for additional food production It is estimated that 120 000 ha are currently used for agriculture in Iceland, 95% of which is used as pasture for grazing animals and producing hay. There is reportedly enough good-quality land available to increase agricultural land to 200 000 hectares. Based on estimates by Snæbjörnsson et al. (2010), Halldórsdóttir and Nicholas (2016) calculated that this 200 000 ha of available land would include 137 000 ha for pasture used for grazing and growing grass to produce hay for animals, 28 000 ha for vegetables and oil crops, 21500 ha for growing cereals like wheat (for human consumption), 5500 ha for cereals used for feed production and 8000 ha for growing other crops fed directly to animals. The smallest municipality in the capital area, Kjósarhreppur, has expressed an ambition to become a sustainable agriculture district, producing a lot of its food locally. Hafnarfjörður municipality in its sustainability policy expresses ambition to reduce food waste and promote healthy nutrition and local food by developing urban gardening.
Food processing/distribution  
food processing and GHG emissions According to Reykjavík Climate Action Plan 2021-2025, food product manufacturing was responsible for 8,043 tCO2EQ, or 1%, of all Reykjavík GHG emissions and additional 3,510 tCO2EQ (around 1% gross approximation in the report) from the agriculture sector. Food processing in Iceland has become highly modernized due to innovations in fish and meat processing by companies such as Marel
food processing and manufacturing companies
in the capital area
According to Reykjavík Municipality’s Directorate of Health, in September 2021, the number of companies with a valid license to operate a food-related business issued by food in-spection was 1940 in total. 136 permits were issued for canteens, 105 for food production, 200 for wholesale, 294 for retail, and 19 were registered as food transportation/logistics centers. In the municipalities of Hafnarfjörður and Kópavogur there were around 600 registered food producing, handling and distributing companies at the end of 2021. No numbers were
found for the other municipalities.
food distribution Most of food to Reykjavík area that is not grown there arrives by shipping or cargo planes, and domestic production from other parts of Iceland arrives by land. The imported food then goes to wholesale, while the domestic producers either provide to wholesalers or directly to catering and retail companies. A few big companies dominate food wholesale and distribution in Iceland, including Eimskip, Samskip, Garri, Bananar, and Mata.
Food marketing, catering, retail  
food retail and marketing There are a few main food retailers in Reykjavík, including Bónus, Krónan, Nettó, Hagkaup and a few smaller retailers and local shops.
Food marketing has increased in the recent decades but is still rather limited compared to other capital cities of countries with similar levels of economic development. According to the Icelandic Competition Authority (2010), 62% of the food market in Reykjavík was controlled by Hagar corporation in 2020, with its most successful outlet being Bónus.
accessibility of retail centers The number of stores selling food per inhabitant in Reykjavík city is relatively low. In 2018, 55,000 or around 45% of the city’s inhabitants lived 400 metres or further from the nearest grocery store. This is the result of the increased number of supermarkets in the city in 1980s (Reykjavík Food Policy, 2018). A sharp decline in the number of grocery stores of 11% was observed from 1988 to 2008 despite the population increase of 24%. There is also a shift in their location from the central area to the periphery and an increase in their size. In 2010, 54% of the population resided at a walking distance of 300 metres (radial) to a grocery store. This percentage was 84% in 1988 and 74% in 1998. This shows that people’s access to food relies increasingly more on private transportation.
Food consumption  
results of Icelandic nutritional survey 2021 According to the Icelandic Nutrition Survey 2021, Icelanders ate around 213 g of fruits and vegetables per day, as opposed to the
recommended 500 g per day, which only around 2% of participants reached. Only around a quarter of participants reached the
recommended norm of 70 g consumption of whole grains, and the same percentage ate vegetarian main dish once per week or more.
Fish consumption remains the same since the last survey in 2010-2011, averagely 315 g per week, being lowest among the young (18–39 years) and particularly low among young women, as only 1% of participants in this group follow the recommendations of 2-3 fish meals (375 g) per week. Consumption of red meat has reduced by 10% (60 g) per week on average since the last survey, but around 60% of the participants exceed the maximum recommended amount of 500 g red meat consumption per week. Milk consumption has decreased since the last survey, but cheese consumption has increased. Total energy consumed by an average Icelander is on average 2044 kilocalories per day, with around 16% of it coming from sugary foods and drinks. The share of energy from added sugar has decreased from 9% to 7% on average but remains higher in the youngest age group where one third gets more than 10% of their energy from added sugar (while recommendation is less than 10%). Protein consumption is at around 18%, which is within the recommended 10-20% of total energy consumed. Consumption of fibre, on the other hand, decreased by around 6% in the last decade, and is now 16 g (instead recommended 25 g). The proportion of fat in total energy consumption has increased from 36% to 41%, while proportion of carbohydrates has decreased from 42% to 37%, even though nutritional recommendation is that 45-60% of total energy from carbohydrates.
Food waste  
food and organic waste According to the report by the Iceland Environment Agency (2020) on food waste statistics for Iceland, average household food waste per person/year in Iceland was 90.3 kg in 2019, with an additional 112.6 kg per person per year from industries. According to the report, these measures show a significant reduction from previous years, but these numbers are not always reliable due to lack of data and occasional measuring errors. The Iceland’s Policy Against Food Waste (2021) indicates that there is no significant difference in food waste in the Greater Reykjavík area and in the countryside – food waste is about 20-25 kg per person per year in the whole country, which amounts to around one third of food being wasted nation-wide and is similar to other European nations.
Food security  
health and food security

Food and drink accounted for about 12.5% of people's consumption in the capital area in the years 2013-2016 . The rate of obesity is higher in the countryside than in the capital area where almost 24% of children are under ideal weight, and 5.5% are obese. In rural
areas, the percentage of overweight children is around 33%, and children with obesity – around 10%. The obesity rate is the highest in Iceland among the Nordic countries .
According to Bailes and Jóhannsson, the concept of food security in Iceland was not used until the financial crisis of 2008, and to this date it is not well-developed, even though it has been more frequently discussed recently in relation to climate change and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Natural disasters disrupted trade flows, global crises, such as the cur-rent war in Ukraine, and extreme climate events affecting global harvests are among the biggest threats to food security in Iceland. The country’s food and fuel reserves are lower than in other Nordic countries, contingency plans for food security on the regional and mu-nicipal level seem to be missing.

marine Reykjavík is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and is rich in fish and other seafood, as well as marine mammals and birds.
Commercial fishing is managed using quota system, and recreational small scale sea angling is allowed without permits. Commercial whaling also takes place in the nearby Hvalfjörður fjord.
freshwater There are many rivers and lakes in the capital area, the biggest of them Elliðaár river and Elliðavatn and Rauðavatn lakes. Recreational fishing is allowed with permits.

The land surface in the capital area is in many areas sparsely populated, and land reclamation is undertaken in many places. There are lava fields with vegetation and patches of wetlands in the capital in good condition. The coastline is long and much of it is man-made. Arable land is scarce and mostly found in Mosfellsdalur, Kjalarnes and Kjós. In the northern part of the capital area, there are rivers and lakes, and in the southern – forests and protected areas that are important for recreational activities .

poverty levels

Iceland, including the capital region, is generally considered to be an affluent society with low levels of poverty. However, relative poverty is acute among low-income individuals and families. For instance, 37.5% of single parents are below the low-income threshold in Ice-land, 13.7% of childless single people, and 8.4% of couples with children. In 2015, around 9.6% of individuals were below the low- income limit, while around 5% of individuals lived with a lack of material quality. Around 12.7% of children in Iceland are at risk of living in poverty and social isolation.


Strategy development
Aim: define a lab narrative

CRFS status quo
The Reykjavik Capital Area CRFS
  • is rather decentralized and governed by different actors
  • depends on imports for half of its food
  • wastes around 1⁄3 of its food
  • does not fully utilize its natural and human resources for making the food system more resilient
  • does not have a food security policy
  • has relatively low diversity in terms of food production and retail
CRFS goals
The CRFS goals following the CRFS policy scan
  • facilitating communication between different actors involved in the governance of CRFS
  • increasing local food production
  • significantly reducing food waste in the capital area - 30% by 2025
  • facilitating innovative projects in the field of food production, education, better utilization, etc.
  • creating food security policy for the capital area
  • increasing diversity in food production, catering and retail by facilitating food-related innovation projects
CRFS strategy

The strategy for achieving these goals could include:

  • arranging a meeting or a workshop with representative of different municipalities in the Reykjavik Capital Area
  • creating a plan on how local food production could could be increased, including review of existing policies and action plans
  • signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, communicating and collaborating with other cities in Europe, learning from their good practices
  • creating, facilitating and actively participating in projects aimed at reducing food waste
  • creating and facilitating collaborations and projects aimed at enhancing food production, e.g. urban gardens in schools, reducing food waste, etc.
  • collecting and systemising information on food production, processing, catering, distribution, and waste in the capital area to get a fuller view of CRFS
  • encouraging food innovation in the CRFS through projet support, participation, and funding


Vision definition
Aim: Translate the CRFS strategy and context assessment into a pilot vision

Describe the CRFS context

The key characteristics of the Reykjavik Capital Area CRFS are large reliance on imported food, while also exporting large amounts of fish; limited possibilities for agriculture due to harsh weather conditions, which is somewhat remediated by abundance of local non-fossil fuel energy; large and underutilized waste streams from food sector; lack of coordination of food- related policies between different actors and municipalities; sporadic food innovation and public participation projects; absence of food security and climate change adaptation policies in the food sector; long food supply chains; reliance on private transport for household grocery shopping; lack of education and information on sustainable and healthy food options.

Formulate the CRFS vision
CRFS vision for Reykjavik Capital Area:
  • synchronized food policy for the capital region
  • significantly increased sustainable local food production and consumption
  • improved food culture in the city for locals and visitors - Reykjavik as a culinary destination
  • improved access to information about healthy and sustainable food options, especially in schools and kindergartens
  • food waste reduced to a minimum, and the organic waste fully utilized - not landfilled
  • cooperation with cities in Europe increased, MUFPP signed and good CRFS practices shared and adapted


Reykjavik Pathway to Action

Aim: Execute the SWOT analysis

The Reykjavík Capital Area food system is rather small and contained, there is abundant clean and cheap energy, democratic process is relatively effective, and change can happen fast, there is rising environmental awareness and willingness for change towards sustainability, there are some untapped opportunities for local food production and food innovation, innovation and start-up scene in the capital area is lively and active. Even though Icelanders import half of their food from abroad, most of meat, dairy and fish is sourced locally, and there are opportunities for increasing local food food production and more efficient use through innovation, especially in vegetable agriculture and aquaculture.
The biggest weaknesses of the Reykjavik Capital Area CRFS include but are not limited to: reliance on imports, lack of competition in food retail where few big actors control the whole market, dependence on difficult-to-predict natural resources - fisheries, unfavourable weather conditions for agriculture, geographical isolation of Iceland, lack of public awareness about food sustainability, and public resistance to change, the lack of communication and synchronization between municipalities regarding food policy, limited food production within or around the city limits, and the fact that 1/3 of food in Iceland is wasted.
Because of the relatively small size of Iceland, change can happen fast
Officials, policy makers and other stakeholders are relatively easy to reach and often are open to suggestions
Untapped human, natural and energy resources that could be used for food innovation
Missing systemised materials for education about food origins, systems and sustainability - a need for a depository where such materials could be accessed
The biggest threats identified were: climate change and other global shocks, such as pandemics that can alter food supply and availability; limited public awareness and civic organization; small size of Iceland which means that market and political power is concentrated in the hands of few actors; isolation of Iceland; lack of continuity in political decisions as governments change; lack of sense of urgency for sustainability transition.


Aim: Define SMART pilot goals

Goal S
Organising a
meeting or a
workshop with
to discuss food
contact the
municipalities, ask about
their interest in food
policy and facilitate a
meeting if there is
if the meeting goes
through, meeting
minutes and outcomes
will be recorded, follow
up meeting could be
likely yes, at least with
some of the municipalities
which may not see food as
a policy priority
yes, because the lack of
synchronisation between
the food systems of
different municipalities in
the CRFS repeatedly came
preferably, until the end
of 2022, but if not, in
the first quarter of 2023
governance and
inclusion, but touches
upon all areas
Reykjavík City
to sign the
Milan Urban
Food Policy
keep contact with the
City of Reykjavik,
convince and assist them
in singing the pact
the measurement is
whether Reykjavik City
signed the MUFPP
the city might not see
enough value in signing,
and not have enough
resources to see it
yes, signing of MUFPP
would enhance European
cooperation and take up
of good practices
the first half of 2023 -
depending on the city’s
Evaluate the
current status
possibilities to
reduce food
collecting information
about efforts to reduce
food waste and
effectiveness of these
the measurement will be
an overview of of food
waste reduction
initiatives, their success
and opportunities
yes yes, because it is not
entirely clear how far
reykjavik has come in their
ambitious food waste
reduction goals
the first quarter of 2023 waste
Collect and
materials on
food for
collecting and listing
educational materials for
schools and
kindergartens available
for educators to use
a document listing
educational materials
available and identifying
yes yes, the educational
material on food systems
and origins accessible for
young audiences is not
readily available
by April/May 2023 inclusion
Collect and
information on
capital area
CRFS scan for Reykjavik
capital area
CRFS policy scan
yes yes, there seems to be
little systemised
information on food
policies in Iceland,
especially on CRFS level
November 2022

all themes



Reykjavik Action Plan

Execution plan
Aim: set out the execution of each task

SMART goal
Municipalities in the Greater Reykjavík Area start a dialogue on food policy
SMART task Responsibility Timeframe Prioritization

Contact municipality responsible for food
policy and ask them if they would be
interested in a meeting, discussion,
workshop on food related issues in the
capital area

Organize a meeting with the representatives

Laura and Katrín

November 2022 - December 2022

December 2022 - March 2023

SMART goal
Reykjavík City increases cooperation with European cities in terms of food policy
SMART task Responsibility Timeframe Prioritization
Make a list of initiatives, consortiums, and
cities whose work is most relevant to the
problems of Reykjavik CRFS
Laura and Katrin December 2022 - February 2023 Medium

Connect Reykjavik City to other interested
municipalities to Cities 2030 consortium
members to share experience and good

Facilitate signature of MUFPP by Reykjavík
and disseminate information about it

Laura, René

January - May 2023

by May 2023

SMART goal
Increase the number of food innovation, community and other projects that tackle food waste, local food production and education about food
SMART task Responsibility Timeframe Prioritization

Map out food related projects in Reykjavik

Collect information about food waste and
possible solutions on a CRFS level

Laura, Katrin by March 2023 Medium importance
Identify the possibilities for urban gardening
in the capital area and funding
opportunities, partners for such projects
Laura, Katrin by April 2023 Important
Collect existing educational materials on
food systems, health and sustainability available for schools and kindergartens and
put them into one place - depository
Laura, Katrin by April 2023 Medium importance
Identify the need for creating additional
educational materials to raise
public/children’s awareness - if there is one -
could do a short report on the need
Laura, Katrin by May 2023 Medium importance


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