Food and Drink in the Land of Fire and Ice (Slideshow)
Convenience Store Products checks out the Iceland c-store scene
Published in Convenience Store Products
OAKBROOK, TERRACE, Ill. --Iceland is a place of overwhelming beauty. It’s at once desolately remote--NASA astronauts trained for landing on the moon here in the 1960s--and truly alive, as the ground steams, boils and bubbles, waterfalls roar at frightening speeds, and volcanoes sit ominously under their icecaps, decades overdue to erupt.
It’s also a place of 320,000 inhabitants and 800,000 annual visitors—all who need to fill up their gas tanks and load up on road trip food while traveling from one geyser to the next. That’s what my family and I did at the end of June during a weeklong stay, snapping some pictures along the way.
Overall, Iceland’s convenience stores aren’t much different from ours—particularly in more rural areas. They carry a very similar assortment of categories and products, and are laid out quite the same. Big differences appear as you visit urban stores—which take a much more prominent role as neighborhood superettes—and roadside travel centers. Like the rest of Europe, these highway stops have robust foodservice offerings with national brands such as Saffran--Iceland's homegrown fast-casual concept that even had a location in Orlando for a while--as well as a few familiar faces. (See the slideshow to find out who.)
Flavor nuances also appear as you begin to sample the options. Some everyday Icelandic snacks include skyr (a rich, protein-heavy yogurt that puts Greek yogurt to shame), wind-dried fish (Icelander’s beef jerky, which they like to spread with butter) and hot dogs (more on that below).
Continue on for some c-store product highlights from the land of fire and ice.