Experimental statistics

Food flow through Iceland's economy


The amount of food that transverses through Iceland's economy is not an easily accessible quantity. Underlying this, imported food is often in a consumption ready form, while little is known about the actual quantity of foods produced from Icelandic and imported raw materials. Icelandic raw materials, e.g. fish are in many cases not intended for marketing in Icelandic food market even though raw material utilization is good.

Assessing food flow, and not least how independent the economy is in its own food creation, is clearly an important matter. Such accounts can serve as a starting point for food waste analysis and improve criteria and focus on food waste decisionmaking

Statistics Iceland has a large amount of information regarding production, harvest statistics, imports and exports of various products that. This information is here activated along with an arrogant choice of what constitutes food in order to get a picture of food flows through the economy.


This project uses a subset of the classification for materials developed for the Economy-Wide Material Flow Account (EW-MFA). Harvest and slaughter figures, together with figures from the Directorate of Fisheries' disposal reports, are then used for evaluating the acquisition of raw materials in Iceland. When raw material figures are available, a model of food recovery from the raw material concerned. This relies on articles from MAST and FAO.

  1. Develop statistics collaboratively: Building a model should be a collaborative effort. Therefore, results are published here in a form that is more detailed than would be done in a general statistical publication. Along with this comes a more detailed description of the underlying methodology in the accounts. These statistics are meant to answer questions such as:
    1. How much food is produced in Iceland?
    2. How much food remains after export?
    3. How much of the remaining food is made from Icelandic raw materials?
  2. Using information available at Statistics Iceland to prepare an upper limit for food quantities that could be used as a food waste calculation criteria.

Food supply is typically around 1,200 kg per person

Updated: 9 December 2022

The average food supply in Iceland is generally calculated at 1,200 kg per person a year (a tolerance of 400 kg per person), or about three times the amount that an adult is expected to consume per year. The division of food by categories is typically 30% in category F11 - Vegetables and plant products, 36% in F14 - Fish and products from seawater sources and 28% in F15 - Meat and other animal products from land. Furthermore, 5% of food is classified as F16 - Drinks, dough and other biomass mixtures.


Food flow through the Icelandic economy 20221209 (xlsx)


Everyone is permitted to use experimental statistics from Statistics Iceland. Please cite source.
For further information, please call 528 1278. E-mail: Thorsteinn.Adalsteinsson@hagstofa.is