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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

New "tourist friendly" packaging for popular local butter spread causes outrage on social media

By Staff

  • Smjörvi through the decades On top the first design, introduced in 1981 and the current, second design, in use since the early 1990s. At bottom the new design. 

  • Smjörvi The last package of the classic Smjörvi emptied

The packaging of Smjörvi butter spread, by far the most popular butter spread in Iceland, has been changed to make recycling easier and to identify the product more clearly for non-Icelandic speaking consumers. The packaging of the staple has remained unchanged for decades. Many Icelanders have reacted to the change with frustration. 

The new packages are designed to be tourist friendly, as many foreign travelers had run into trouble at grocery stores when looking for local butter spread. 


Smjörvi The different packages: The blue Smjörvi is a new low-fat version of the classic product

Smjörvi butter spread was first introduced to the market in 1981 in distinctive white packaging with light green and yellow colors. The design of the packaging has undergone only minor changes since then. While the new packaging maintains the green color it makes a decisive break with the classic minimalist design.

A spokeswoman for the dairy coop MS, which manufactures Smjörvi, told the local news site Vísir that the new packaging is designed to make it easier for non-Icelandic speakers, including foreign visitors to identify the product as butter spread: All information on the classic packaging was in Icelandic, and the design included no clear hints about the content. 

"The packaging now includes English, which is helpful to foreign consumers, as well a more prominent message about recycling and instructions on how to correctly recycle the packaging."

The dairy MS assures local consumers that the content of the packaging has not changed. However, the company has introduced a new low-fat version of Smjörvi, which comes in blue packages.

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