EIT Food News

MAKEathon in Iceland


Justine Vanhalst

Project Manager

As part of an European funded project (EIT Food) called MAKE-it!, Matís is hosting MAKEathon in four locations around Iceland to focus on the left-over raw material of the seafood industry. 

From the 10th to the 18th of September MAKEathons focusing on the seafood industry will be held in 4 locations around Iceland: in Reykjavík, Akureyri, Neskaupstaður and in the Westfjörð (Bolungarvík/Ísafjörður). 

A MAKEathon is an innovation competition with a strong focus on making and creating something with your hands to respond to the challenge presented. During these MAKEathons, participants from diverse background will come together to find solution to the challenge:  

How can we add value to left-over raw material from the seafood industry in order to make this industry more sustainable? 

Sustainability is as the heart of the MAKEathon. Our food value chain needs to be resilient to face our fast-growing population. Optimizing the use of the food we produce through innovation and entrepreneurship is the key to resilience by fostering these notions during MAKEathon! 

Participants will be presented with raw materials, bones and skin, from fish and they will have the chance to “play” with it to prototype their idea.  

The project is in tight collaboration with the FabLab in Iceland that will give a great opportunity for the participant to be introduced to innovation throughout the MAKING process.   

The MAKEathon in Reykjavík, Akureyri and Neskaupstaður will be hybrid events with some parts online and some part physical*.  Participants will get the chance to prototype their idea in the FabLab of the MAKEathon location. This part is optional, and the participants can choose to stay at home for prototyping thanks to THE BOX provided containing all the necessary equipment and some raw material.  

The MAKEathon in Bolungarvík/Ísafjörður will be a physical* event in collaboration with the students from the University of the Westfjörð. 

*for the physical part of the event, the governmental guidelines are respected regarding COVID-19.  Please read this for more information.

The MAKEathon is open to everyone, no expertise in fisheries is required and can be done alongside school/work.  

Register here 

To follow all the news from the MAKEathon:  

The MAKEathon á Íslandi are contributing and working towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals number 9, 12, 13 and 14.

Matís is one of the 11 European partners of the project MAKE-it!, an EIT Food funded project, lead by the University of Cambridge.  

Matís COVID-19 statement for the MAKEathon.

EIT Food News

A snapshot of EIT Foods Sustainability and Traceability Success Stories – including two Matís led projects, SeaCH4NGE and BLINK


Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir

Project Manager

Two of Matís led EIT Food projects, SeaCH4NGE  and BLINK were chosen to be promoted by EIT Food as a snapshot of EIT Foods Sustainability and Traceability Success Stories at the Food Navigator ‘Sustainability & Traceability in Focus‘ webinar which was streamed on July 29.

The webinar revolved around Sustainability and Traceability, e.g. the effect of the COVID-19 on consumer awareness regarding food: “Consumer awareness of where food comes from – and the fragility of our food system – has seen in an outpouring of support for local production. Echoes of the disruption wrought by COVID-19 can be seen in the looming climate crisis, making climate-smart food production high on the agenda for food makers, retailers and shoppers alike.” The webinar can be streamed here.

The EIT Food leaflet containing information about interesting EIT Food projects focused on sustainability, including SeaCH4NGE and BLINK, can be found here.

EIT Food News

Can Smart Tags Labels on Food Products Packaging Increase Consumer Trust and Value Chain Transparency?


Jónas R. Viðarsson

Director of Division of value creation

A new EIT food project called Smart tags has recently started where the aim is to increase consumer trust towards food products and systems by sharing information about the food product value chain during the whole life-cycle of the product. The consumers and stakeholders can create an interactive connection; consumers are e.g. able to give feedback, ask questions, co-develop the products and services, and the food industry can understand better their customers and their needs and create such products and services they are asking for.

In a highly globalised world where food value chains are often long and complicated, consumers find there is a gap between the level of information they want on food packaging to make informed purchase decision, and what is currently displayed there. They are often interested in ingredients used, product sustainability, authenticity, transportation, shelf life, and how recyclable packaging are. They also often find nutritional information hard to interpret and product are often decorated with slogans with vague phrases or words like “natural” or “healthy” – without supporting those slogans with facts and figures.

For consumers, the smart tag can be a simple barcode that can be read by mobile phone or visible colour change in indicator, allowing them to access more relevant and real-time information about different food products and to communicate with the producers or other stakeholders. Smart tags mean visible or electronic markers with environmental sensing functions like functional ink, sensors or indicators, combined with software intelligence. When some parts or areas of a 2D barcode are printed with the functional ink, the scanning result of the code changes dynamically when the state of the functional part changes. When conditions of the surrounding environment change, such as ambient temperature, lighting or humidity, parts of the barcode appear, disappear or change colour and the scanning result change accordingly.

The outcome of the project will include smart tags solutions that increase the trust and knowledge of the food value chain for consumers and provides new experiences of interactivity with the food industry. For the food industry, we can share knowledge about how to create added value for the consumers and when, where and how the consumers are willing to utilize the data available with existing technology.

The Smart tag project is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland but the consortium consists of research partners, food industry and technology developers. The partner are University of Reading (UK), University of Warsaw (Poland), KU Leuven (Belgium), Matis (Iceland), AZTI (Spain), DouxMatok (Israel) and Maspex Group (Poland). The Smart tag project is supported by EIT Food is Europe’s, which is the leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food systems more sustainable, healthy and trusted and is. EIT Food is supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union.

EIT Food News

Metamorphosis Tasting Event

A special tasting event will be held at Matís today where a farmed salmon, fed with novel insect feed, will be tasted and evaluated. The tasting event is a part of the EIT Food project Metamorphosis.

Metamorphosis focuses on turning organic waste streams into a valuable, next generation aquaculture feed ingredient. The increased shortage of sustainable protein feeds has called for new approaches regarding the industry’s growing need. Many insects are very efficient in transforming organic wastes into sustainable nutrients, rich in proteins and fats. Based on currently available waste streams, several thousand tonnes of insect meal could be produced at a favourable price and quality. More than half of all aquatic species are now produced by aquaculture and its production is likely to double in the next 15 years, and insect meal has been demonstrated to successfully provide nutrition to fish. This Activity will investigate a novel insect feed additive, which will provide an alternative to Europe’s increasing reliance on soy and fish meal imports from South America, and thus help decrease the European protein deficit in a sustainable manner.

Further information about the Metomorphosis project.

EIT Food News

Can Seaweed Reduce Methane Emissions from Cattle?

Matís, University of Hohenheim, University of Reading and ABP Food, are partners in the project SeaCH4NGE, funded by EIT Food. SeaCH4NGE’s aim is to find an easily accessible seaweed species that can reduce methane emission from cattle.

Research in Australia has shown that certain seaweed species can significantly reduce methane production from cattle. SeaCH4NGE will investigate in the laboratory a range of European seaweed species both with regard to their chemical composition and their methane reducing potential. The most promising seaweeds are then chosen for further studies with live cattle who will be fed seaweed and the methane emissions measured.

Check out the new video prepared by SeaCH4NGE about the project and why this is important:

SeaCH4NGE – Seaweed supplementation to mitigate methane (CH4) emissions by cattle.
EIT Food News

Matís and the Youth University Summer School – How does Food Taste in Space?

Students from the Youth University Summer School visited Matis on the 13th of June. The theme of the day was “Food in space” and was supervised and taught by Sævar Helgi Bragason, a TV series producer and multi-awarded science disseminator, Anna Sigríður Ólafsdóttir, professor in nutrition at the School of Education, University of Iceland and Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, PhD Food Science, Research and Innovation, Matis.  Altogether 24 students between the age of 12 and 15 participated.

The ´Food in space´ course was a combination of lectures and practical work. The lectures dealt with the history of space travel, food and food circulation in space, our senses and how our perception changes in space, nutrition in space and food culture. The lectures were combined with practical exercises dealing with senses and food: odour, taste, appearance, sound and texture, as well as the combination of the senses and how our perception in space varies from what we experience down on earth. In addition, the students were introduced to microplastic research, microbial analysis and genetic research performed at Matis, all put in context with life in space.

The Matis approach to the theme of food in space was via WeValueFood, in which Matis takes part in together with 13 universities and institutes across Europe. The aim of WeValueFood is to support the European food economy by improving future generations’ interest and knowledge of, and engagement with, food. A part of this is to evoke interest and participation of the next generation by novel approaches and new perspectives. Food in space is an very interesting approach on food related topics and the students were very interested in how food, nutrition and space could be connected.

WeValueFood is a part of and supported by EIT Food, which is a pan-European consortium that focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the food sector.

EIT Food News

Opportunities to Reduce Methane (CH4) Emission from Cattle

Greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced in the next 11 years in order to avoid disastrous levels of global warming as stated in the report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1. Methane gas is a potent greenhouse gas produced in the rumen of cattle and sheep during the normal process of feed digestion. This ruminant enteric methane production is the single biggest anthropogenic source (~25%) of methane which also has 28 times higher global warming potential than CO2.

Recent research in Australia2 has shown that some species of seaweed can reduce methane production from cattle by up to 80% when used as a feed supplement at 3% inclusion rates of organic matter. Hence, seaweed clearly has the potential to reduce methane gas production from ruminant species, even at low inclusion levels. EIT Food has recently funded the project SeaCH4NGE which aims to reduce methane (CH4) emission from cattle. This is a collaborative project that involves four European partners and   is co-ordinated by Matís.

SeaCH4NGE will investigate the potential of different species and processing of seaweed as feed supplements to reduce methane production by cattle with secondary aim to study the effect on animal welfare and product quality. First phase of SeaCH4NGE will investigate and process a range of seaweed products at Matís. In the second phase a laboratory based in-vitro system will be used to screen the products at University of Hohenheim. The third phase will test in-vivo the most promising products on cattle at University of Reading with ABP Food to study the effect of seaweed supplementation on the CH4 production by cattle.

This project will provide essential information on the potential for seaweed as a feed supplement for cattle to reduce overall methane emissions from agriculture in Europe. The output will be a marketable seaweed supplement to farmers/seaweed producers.
EIT Food News

Food4Future – EIT Announces a Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Food – Matís is a Partner!

A new leading partnership will drive a transformation towards a consumer-centric and resource-efficient food sector.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the winner of a pan-European competition on the Food4Future call: EIT Food. EIT Food will build sustainable end-to-end food supply chains realized through transformative innovation and education initiatives, with a central role for the consumer. EIT Food has broad coverage in EU member states and associated countries and is a unique partnership of 50 leading companies, universities, and scientific partners covering the entire food value chain. With the consumers as change agents, each of them is committed to jointly transform the way in which we currently produce, distribute and consume our food. Over the next seven years, the partners will invest close to 1.2 billion euros matched with up to 400 million euros financed by the EIT.

As the future of food is high on the European Commission’s agenda, EIT Food will deliver cutting-edge European skills to rebuild a healthy and sustainable food system in Europe and beyond. The “knowledge triangle” of research, education and entrepreneurship will sharpen the global competitiveness of the European economy. Peter van Bladeren, Vice President Nestec, Global head Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for Nestlé and Chair of the Interim Supervisory Board of EIT Food: “EIT Food is committed to create the future curriculum for students and food professionals as a driving force for innovation and business creation; it will give the food manufacturing sector, which accounts for 44 million jobs in Europe, a unique competitive edge.”

EIT Food as Innovation community will become a consumer-driven innovation engine for all actors covering the food value chain. EIT Food will build a trusted food innovation ecosystem that supports consumers in their right to a healthy and more environmentally sustainable diet.  Dr. Ellen de Brabander, Senior Vice President Global R&D Nutrition PepsiCo, and interim CEO of EIT Food: “By involving the consumer as change agents in all our activities, we will rebuild their  trust in the food system. 60% of European consumers will achieve intake levels of positive nutrition including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins by 2030 as well as reduce the levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat as recommended by WHO (World Health Organization) and European authorities. And we will cut food waste by 50% within 10 years.”

EIT Food will organize international exchange programmes for students, and develop a unique interdisciplinary EIT labelled Food System M.Sc.for graduates. EIT Food will train thousands of students and food professionals via workshops, summer schools and online educational programmes like MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and SPOCS (Specialized Private Online Courses).

EIT Food will set up 4 Innovation programmes targeting societal challenges:

  1. personalized healthy food (FoodConnects Assistant),
  2. the digitalization of the food system (The Web of Food),
  3. consumer-driven supply chain development and new technology adoption in farming, processing & retail (Your Fork2Farm),
  4. resource-efficient processes, turning the food sector into the spearhead for transforming the currently linear “produce-use-dispose” model into a circular bio-economy (The Zero Waste Agenda).

“EIT Food will collaborate with adjacent sectors to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in the food production scene, while stimulating start-ups via dedicated coaching and investment programmes such as our unique innovation vehicle RisingFoodStars and the investment fund SeedInvest”, says Prof. Thomas Hofmann, Senior Vice President of the Technical University of Munich, who acted as the co-ordinator submitting the proposal.

This large-scale initiative headquartered in Belgium is leveraged by five so-called Co-Location Centres, which stimulate innovation, talent development and consumer involvement at the regional level. They are based in Leuven (Belgium, France, Switzerland), Munich (Germany, Netherlands), Reading (United Kingdom, Iceland, Ireland), Warsaw (Poland, Finland) and Madrid (Spain, Italy, Israel). EIT Food works with a large group of network partners and will be very active in Central and Eastern European countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia.

This large-scale initiative headquartered in Belgium is leveraged by five so-called Co-Location Centres, which stimulate innovation, talent development and consumer involvement at the regional level. They are based in Leuven (Belgium, France, Switzerland), Munich (Germany, Netherlands), Reading (United Kingdom, Iceland, Ireland), Warsaw (Poland, Finland) and Madrid (Spain, Italy, Israel). EIT Food works with a large group of network partners and will be very active in Central and Eastern European countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia.

The Reading based United Kingdom, Iceland, Ireland Co-Location Centre, referred to as CLC North-West, integrates an outstanding breadth of complementary expertise from its academic/ research (Matís, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Cambridge, University of Reading) and business (ABP Food Group, PepsiCo, Nielsen) core partners. As part of our growth strategy additional core partners will be joining in the first year and our highly committed network partners will become active participants in our work.

“This CLC will be the leading voice for a more integrated food system, with the consumer as both the driver and solution for more healthy sustainable food consumption.” says Professor Christine Williams, Professor of Human Nutrition and interim director of CLC North-West.


Please contact Mieke Vercaeren, interim director communication
T: +32 (0)2 360-1040

Becky Nadal, interim CLC communication contact