Salt Fish - a Resource in the Future
15. desember 2022

Salt cured fish, or salt fish, is a historically and economically important product in a west Nordic region comprising of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and the western coast of Norway.

Recent developments in the traditional markets toward pre-desalted and prepared product have resulted in a loss of marketshare for Nordic exports, which primarily consists of traditional salt fish.

The home market in the Nordics for salt fish is traditionally small, and recent studies suggest a decreasing interest and knowledge about the product, especially among the younger population.


Trendy Cod

The pan Nordic project Trendy Cod aims increase local knowledge and consumption of salt fish and increase Nordic export markets shares through development of innovative "ready-to-eat” and "ready-to-cook” salt fish products.

Trendy Cod will run over 3 years. The first stage of Trendy Cod consist of national workshops in the three participating countries, where stakeholders can network and exchange ideas. The second stage involves international meetings, in which the experiences and ideas from the national workshops will be converted into tangible products, which will be launched in the third and final stage of the project.

"Salt fish – a Resource in the Future”

The Faroese national workshop, "Salt fish – a Resource in the Future”, were arranged in the salt fish themed restaurant "Fiskastykkið” in Sandavágur on the 10th of November.

Close to 40 representatives from salt fish producers, the fishing - and industry ministries, startup-, industry- and tourism organizations, chefs and culinary students attended the workshop. The workshop included presentations on the history, present and future of saltfish production in the Faroe Islands, sensory evaluation of salt fish, presentation of alternative uses of salt fish and work groups.
The work groups concerned two subjects: innovation and product development of the salt fish resource and increasing the market, specifically among young people, for salt fish in the Nordics.

Agenda of "Salt fish – a Resource in the Future”, Fiskastykkið, 10.11.22.

10.00: Welcome by Árni Skaale, Minister for Fisheries

10.05: Presentation of the TRENDY Cod project (Janus Vang, director of Research Park iNOVA)

10.15: Short presentations:

  • Fiskastykkið (Jónleyg Simonsen)
  • History of salt fish in the Faroe Islands (Helgi Jacobsen)
  • Present and future of salt fish (Rói Egholm)

11:00: Sensory evaluations of salt fish (Janus Vang, iNOVA)

12.00: Presentation of innovative uses of salt fish by the Technical School in Klaksvík

12.15: Lunch presented by Sonni Zachariasen, Fiskastykkið

13.00: Work groups regarding product development and marketing of salt fish (2*30min)

14.00: Evaluation of the work groups

14.30: End


Sensory evaluation of salt fish

Salt fish is prepared by deep salting fillets or butterfly cut fish followed by a weeks-long saltdrying process. The salted and dehydrated fish is thus preserved for the long transport and warm climate in the traditional markets for salt fish, southern Europe and its diaspora.

Before consumption the salt fish is desalted and rehydrated in a days-long process. The finished product has by then acquired the firm texture and cured taste that define salt fish from the dehydration and breakdown/denaturization of fibers and proteins.

In order to increase their awareness of the unique qualities of salt fish, the participants in the "Salt fish – a Resource in the Future” workshop were asked to evaluate fresh fish, lightly salted fish and several samples of salt fish from a set of sensory properties defining taste, odor and texture. The results underscored the significant differences between the three types of products, and the unique taste and texture of salt fish.

Interestingly, there were also significant differences among the salt fish samples, especially among those properties concerning texture, depending upon if the sample had been prefrozen before the salting process. This suggests that salt fish quality benefits from being produced from local resources with short transportation needs.


Innovative uses of salt fish

Part of Trendy Cods purpose is to market the salt fish resource to a younger audience.

To this end culinary students from the Technical School in Klaksvík had been issued a 3-week challenge to produce innovative and alternative dishes using salt fish. The result was 12 outstanding dishes, which the students themselves presented at the workshop. They included:


  • Salt fish ice cream
  • A salt fish salat served in a crunchy rice cup
  • Salt fish burger
  • Salt fish and potato "lasagna”
  • Salt fish waffles with pickled onions and spicy sauce
  • Salt fish pizza with sour cream


The conclusion of the culinary students is that salt fish is a versatile, high-quality, locally produced ingredient with a unique background, which enables compelling history-telling.


Work Groups

20 min. work groups were scheduled at the tail end of the workshop, where the participants could use their personal experiences and the takeaways from the earlier program, to answer questions regarding salt fish innovation and product development and market growth and marketing salt fish to a young audience.

The ideas developed in the work groups are summarized here.

Salt fish innovation and product development


  • These groups concluded that it was vital to develop pre-desalted salt fish products.
  • An easily available product would encourage innovation, create new markets and encourage innovators, and it was suggested to market a flash frozen pre-desalted product to increase shelf life.
  • Salt fish packaged in a premeasured packaging for desalting was also suggested, inspired by Norway.
  • It was discussed if the very soft water in the Faroe Islands prolongs desalting. Innovation might be necessary to establish effective desalting on the Faroe Islands.
  • It was suggested using the developmental fish quotas to encourage innovation for salt fish (this has successfully been done for mackerel and herring products), and to task the newly formed Export Council with developing marketing for the products.
  • The innovative uses of salt fish by the culinary students inspired the work groups. It is necessary to use the traditional local resource in new, alternative products, which appeals to the life choices of a young population. Use something traditional in an untraditional way.


Market growth and marketing salt fish to a young audience


  • These work groups also states that it is necessary to market pre-desalted products to catch the interest of younger target groups, since the 2-5 day desalting process does not fit into the lifestyle of teenagers, young professionals or young families with children.
  • Restaurants and chefs declared that they would use saltfish more frequently if they didn’t have to plan five days ahead, and if the resource wouldn’t take up kitchen space in that period.
  • The groups also highlighted, that salt fish should be marketed as a high-quality brand, and to that end it was suggested to re-establish a national saltfish quality review, which could codify and control the quality properties Faroese salt fish should live up to.
  • It was also suggested that the Faroese salt fish producers could create an umbrella organization, like the salmon aquaculture firms in the Faroe Islands initially did (Salmon from the Faroe Islands). This could enable joint marketing with higher budgets and ensure high product prices by preventing that Faroese producers are pitted against each other.
  • It was also pointed out that salt fish is a known ingredient in the Faroese kitchen, so it doesn’t face the barriers experienced by fx. seaweed, but that it has a lot of developmental potential. Most Faroese peoples only experience with salt fish is boiled salt fish served with mashed potatoes.
  • Salmon producers creates whole environments in the Faroese supermarkets, where the salmon products have their own stands with rollups and a dedicated selection of condiments for the most popular dishes. Something similar should be done with salt fish.
  • Focus marketing on sustainability due to log shelf life (less food waste) and the local source of the product (short transportation).
  • Themed saltfish arrangements for a young audience could raise awareness of the resource. The inspiration is the "Faroe Bank Cod” arrangements in the "Heima í Havn” restaurants, but instead of 5 course dinners with a wine-menus, they could be street-food inspired.
  • Workshops in high schools or national competitions, possible a Faroese Championship in salt fish dishes, was suggested as effective platforms to reach younger audiences.
  • Public food policy was also suggested as an important tool in reaching a young audience. It has been suggested that public kitchens should be compelled to use a certain percentage of domestic products, and if salt fish was a regular ingredient in fx. school meals, children would grow up with a positive familiarity with the product.



Several factors helped make "Salt fish – a Resource in the Future” a successful initiative.

The new salt-fish themed restaurant Fiskastykkið was a perfect setting for the workshop, and undoubtedly help convince the stakeholders to donate a day of their time to the initiative.

The wide assortment of stakeholders from very different backgrounds set the stage for lively and inspiring discussions and helped create an encompassing network for innovation in the salt fish industry.

The initial presentations on salt fish, and the direct participation in the sensory evaluation, prepared and informed the stakeholders for the following work groups, which as a result was both lively and rewarding.

The participation of young culinary students, and their ideas concerning new uses of a traditional resource, served both as inspiration and hope for the future of salt fish in the Nordics.

All participants had a positive evaluation of both the workshop and the Trendy Cod project, and they eagerly await the next stages.

We are looking forward to participating in the international events of the Trendy Cod project, bringing both results and suggestions from the Faroese workshop and select stakeholders with us.