What are the main grocery stores in Iceland? No need to look any further. Whether you’re travelling on your own in a campervan or a rental or just doing your regular touristy thing, you will need food. If you’re going on a road trip, check out our list of the Best Road Trip Food in Icelandic Grocery Stores.
There are four major supermarket chains in Iceland. They do not differ all that much, but you will not necessarily find the same brand between stores, and some are cheaper than others. But overall, the stores are pretty similar.
Hagkaup, Kjörbúðin and Krambúðin er the most expensive stores. Especially the latter two. Bónus is consistently the cheapest, but if you want slightly more quality (especially fresh produce), you should go to Krónan.
If you need to find something that no other store has available, check Melabúðin in Reykjavik’s West Side. The tiny store is famous for having everything available.
Most stores today have an environmental policy, which we think is excellent. Large businesses must think about their environmental impact. We’ve included the policies of the stores here in the post.
This is the oldest supermarket and one of the oldest grocery stores in Iceland. It is not a low-price supermarket, but you might find stuff unavailable in other stores.
Hagkaup was founded in 1959, and the company’s operations have deep roots in Icelandic society, having been an unbroken part of the country’s commercial history for over 60 years. Originally, Hagkaup was just a mail-order store. Still, in 1967, a new chapter in the company’s history was broken when the first store opened on Miklatorg. Hagkaup’s first supermarket opened in 1970 in Skeifan; to this day, that store is still the most popular of the seven stores.
The ideal has always been to offer a wide range of products, convenient opening hours, and a warm welcome. They offer a varied product range for daily needs in food, clothing, cosmetics, toys, home furnishings, and leisure products.
Two Hagkaup stores are open 24 hours a day.
Hagkaup places great emphasis on protecting the environment in all its operations. They have set ambitious goals of being at the forefront regarding environmental protection and social responsibility. They strive to choose more environmentally friendly products from suppliers and choose reusable products over others to sell in stores. They also have a variety of measures to reduce food waste. They support social issues in various ways and actively support Icelandic innovation in the food industry.
Hagkaup operates seven stores, six in the capital area and one in Akureyri.
Krónan is a discount store that focuses on fresh products. Krónan stores have been operating in Iceland since 2000. About a thousand people work at Krónan, which has the VR equal-pay certification, meaning that employees who work of equal value are paid the same amount.
Krónan is a big part of society. They have realized that under their size, they can have an impact for good. They give grants to charities annually and promote children’s health and fitness. They also strive to reduce environmental impact, offer healthier options, and promote public health.
They were the first in Iceland (and possibly still are the only ones) to take down the candy by the register and replace it with healthier choices. You can also choose five fruits in a bag for just 220ISK. If you don’t want to meet a cash register, you can. You can either use their self check out centers or “scan and walk out”, where you scan your produce into a bag and then pay through the app. To leave the store, you scan a QR code you get up after paying.
They operate various discount grocery stores in Iceland, mainly in the capital city and along the South Coast.
The first actual discount grocery store in Iceland. When it opened in the late 1980s, it was a revolution in Iceland. According to their website, Bónus was the first grocery store in Iceland to offset the carbon footprint of its stores. They recycle vast amounts of garbage every day. And since opening in the late 1980s, they have sold visually defective products and those on their last days of consumption with significant discounts. Bónus was also the first supermarket to stop selling traditional plastic carrier bags and introduce biodegradable carrier bags.
Like Krónan and Hagkaup, Bónus has its environmental policy. Protecting the environment is the world’s biggest project, and they want to contribute and show social responsibility.
Bónus’ Environmental Policy
The grocery store Bónus was the first to offset its stores’ carbon footprint, which has been done since May 2019 (for the 2018 operating year). The carbon sequestration is done in collaboration with Kolvið, who is responsible for planting trees on behalf of Bónus. The carbon footprint has decreased over the years, but in 2022, 6618 trees will be added to our forest at Úlfljótsvatn Lake.
In 2021, greenhouse gas emissions amounted to an operating Bonus was almost 662 CO2 tons. This is a decrease of 14% from the previous year and a 24% decrease from 2019.
A bill by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources to ban the sale of single-use plastic products became law in 2020. Among other things, the law prohibited the sale of plastic spoons, plates, glasses, tubes, and cotton buds.
First to offer biodegradable disposable products
Bónus was the first grocery store in Iceland to offer disposable products made from biodegradable and more environmentally friendly materials than before. By their admission, Bónus didn’t think much of this law, as single-use plastic products had not been for sale in their stores for a long time.
Bonus has systematically worked to reduce energy waste in its stores by switching to more environmentally friendly energy media and energy-saving LED bulbs. Also, all new and redesigned Bónus stores are built on a green foundation. Environmentally friendly cooling systems are used, which make better energy use. Closed coolers and freezers ensure a more even temperature, resulting in better quality and durability of frozen products.
New LED lighting, with the closing of coolers and freezers, has so far reduced the use of electricity in stores by up to 50%.
Samkaup (they own Iceland, Krambúðin, Kjörbúðin and Nettó)
The company operates around sixty small grocery stores across the country. Samkaupi’s customers can choose between the company’s leading retail chains. They are Nettó, Kjörbúðin, Krambúðin, Iceland, Seljakjör, Háskólbúðin and Samkaup Strax. Samkaupi’s position is prominent and strong both outside and within the capital area. The company offers attractive stores, a wide selection of products, and reasonable prices.
Samkaup’s community policy
Samkaup‘s website says that Samkaup emphasizes social responsibility in all its activities, reflecting the company’s ambition to be a reliable and active social participant.
Collective bargaining respects the expectations of key stakeholders for the company and shapes priorities in economic, social, and environmental aspects with them as a guide.
Samkaup works purposefully to improve society, whether the local community, the entire country, or on a global level, with a clear code of conduct for the company’s behavior and ambitious projects. To that end, Samkaup strives to follow the ten principles of the United Nations (UN) on social issues, working towards the United Nations’ global goals for sustainable development.
Nettó is a discount store with quality products at reasonable prices and is owned by Samkaupa hf. The first Nettó store opened in Akureyri in 1989. Still, today there are 17 of them, six in the capital area, i.e., in Grandi, in Mjódd, in Lágmúla, in Hafnarfjörður, Búdakór and at Salaveg in Kópavogur. In addition, there are 2 Nettó stores in Akureyri, in Borgarnes, in Selfoss, 2 in Reykjanesbær, Grindavík, in Höfn in Hornafjörður, Ísafjörður, Egilsstaðir, and Húsavík.
It is open 24 hours a day in Grandi and Mjódd.
Nettó was the first discount store to open an online store in Iceland in September 2017. You can order food online in 14 Nettó stores around the country at the same price as in stores at Netto.is
The product range in Nettó stores is extensive, and the prices are competitive with other discount stores. Nettó imports many brands, such as Änglamark, Coop, Xtra, Maku, and Sistema, to name a few. The product range consists of food products as well as speciality products.
The Krambúð is located all over the country. They are located in the capital area, Selfoss, Akranes, Flúður, Laugarvatn, Búðardal, Firði in Hafnarfjörður, Hólmavík, Keflavík, Innri – Njarðvík, Húsavík, Reykjahlíð, Borgarbraut and Byggðavegi in Akureyri.
It is open 24 hours a day on Borgarbraut and Hringbraut.
Krambúðin is a convenience store that offers quick and good nutrition in the hustle and bustle of the day.
Kjörbúðin‘s stores are located nationwide.
We strive to offer a good selection, low prices, and fresh products at every location. Kjörbúðinn enables customers to shop daily for all necessities at competitive prices. Every week we offer tasty and varied offers, and the selection ranges from dry products to fresh products.
Iceland has six stores in the capital area, two open 24/7 in Engihjalla and Staðarberg. Unfortunately, unlike its British counterpart, Iceland in Iceland is not the cheap store you might be used to. It consistently ranks as one of the more expensive stores in the country. Its emphasis on frozen goods is also not as pronounced here as in Britain.
Honorable mentions: Melabúðin, Costco
The most famous grocery store in Iceland, simply because it is international. You will find Costco in Garðabær, close to IKEA. It is still in the capital but not within walking distance from downtown Reykjavik. If you have a Costco card from another country, you should also be able to use it here. Just know the liqueur cooler is only for businesses as it is illegal to sell alcohol stronger than 2,25% anywhere except the state-owned Vínbúð.
Melabúðin is a well-established merchant shop with a wide range of products. Their meat and fish counter is fantastic, and you can ask the staff members for advice on choosing meat and fish.
The store opened in 1956, and its motto has always been to offer good personal service. The same family has run the store for 40 years.
So, these are the grocery stores in Iceland.