Icelandic innovation in US dairy

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Reykjavik Creamery uses ultra-filtration technology developed in Iceland and built in the US to make cultured dairy products such as Icelandic-style skyr and Greek yogurt. Pics: Reykjavik Creamery
Reykjavik Creamery uses ultra-filtration technology developed in Iceland and built in the US to make cultured dairy products such as Icelandic-style skyr and Greek yogurt. Pics: Reykjavik Creamery

Related tags: Iceland, Dairy, skyr, Yoghurt, Yogurt

Reykjavik Creamery is a new dairy processor in Pennsylvania specializing in contract manufacturing for the US market.

The company uses ultra-filtration technology developed in Iceland and built in the US, and is the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA.

The system is designed to make high-solids, cultured dairy products such as Icelandic-style skyr and Greek yogurt. The main advantages to ultra-filtration, a technology used in Iceland for many years, according to the company‘s founder, Gunnar Birgisson, is that it ensures a creamier texture, higher protein yield, better mouthfeel and more flexibility for a given milkfat than is possible with most conventional, centrifugal separators. By using this technology, no solids are lost, except for lactose.

The Reykjavik Creamery plant is located on a 400-acre organic dairy farm in central Pennsylvania.  Construction of the facility was completed in late 2019 and production began early this year after equipment testing, employee training and product development. The 30,000-square-foot plant is located about 25 minutes from Carlisle, a major inland port for the Northeastern US.  The plant is Grade-A licensed, certified organic, kosher and recently passed its first SQF audit.

Birgisson said Reykjavik Creamery will contribute to the increasing demand from consumers for quality, taste, sustainability and health benefits, including low sugar, simple ingredients and clean labels.

Reykjavik Creamery offers volume minimums and filling capability for most commonly used yogurt cup sizes in the US, from 4 to 32 oz, both as blended and fruit on the bottom.  Reykjavik Creamery has the capability to receive and process conventional, non-GMO and organic milk. 

Finding a suitable mid-size, dairy co-packer that offers flexibility and reasonable volume minimums can be challenging, Birgisson said, adding Reykjavik Creamery aims to serve the market by supporting premium yogurt brands that may have outgrown their current first-phase manufacturers, but which are not yet large enough to work with some of the largest co-packers in the country.

Reykjavik Creamery supports new and existing yogurt brands as well as private-label production for retail chains.  Reykjavik also offers complete pilot-project services to US companies of various sizes, and has established relationships with many of the largest dairy industry suppliers. 

In January, Reykjavik Creamery was awarded a dairy grant as part of the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program.  The grant supports further growth opportunities, as well as new jobs and economic benefits to dairy farms and other business sectors in the community. 

4 comments

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Name correction

Posted by Anna Peggy Friðriksdóttir,

Gunnar Friðrik Birgisson was my best employee of the year, many years in a row during the 8 plus years he worked in many of my restaurants in Iceland.
My auto correct on my phone wanted his name to be either Fridriksson or Friðriksdóttir!
My apologies Gunnar Birgirsson and good luck with this great exciting project .
It is so very coincidental that this factory is in the next town where Einar Óskarsson ( my now departed ex- husband ) and I attended university in Pennsylvania USA . We moved to Iceland in 1978 where I lived and operated numerous restaurants until moving to Canada with my 3 daughters in 1994 .
Heimurinn er litið ( small world indeed )

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Proudly Icelandic

Posted by Anna Peggy Friðriksdóttir,

I’m very proud to read that one of my former and best employees of my companies when I owned multiple restaurants in Iceland is the founder of this company in USA .
Well done Gunnar Fridriksson !
So proud of you and especially happy to see the Icelandic connection with the words skyr and Reykjavík in your business.
Let’s bring it to Canada !

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Skyr originally coming from Iceland

Posted by Pétur Helgason,

We are very proud here in Iceland to have a company in the US, founded by a good friend of mine Gunnar Birgisson, producing among other things skyr, which is originally an Icelandic product. Skyr is today a fast-growing product all over the world. On top of that, it´s named after Reykjavik our capital city.

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