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Herring in iPhone App

Sustainability Economics Food safety & handling +4 more

NORWAY - Matjes herring is the latest product to be added to Nofimas iPhone app "How fresh is your fish?"

Matjes herring
Fishtrader Peter with a matjes herring ready for consumption. (Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen - Copyright: Nofima)

Matjes herring

  • Around 140 million matjes herrings are produced and exported from Norway on an annual basis.
  • All Norwegian-produced matjes herring is exported to the Netherlands, which in turn exports approx. 80 million herrings to Germany and smaller amounts to marginal markets such as France, Belgium and Austria. The remainder is consumed in the Netherlands.
  • Around 80 - 90 per cent of all matjes herring is produced in Norway, while the remainder is produced in Denmark.
  • Norway is an extremely small market for matjes herring, but it may be bought at supermarkets in the major cities.

The upgrade of the How fresh is your fish? app is now available at the app store and may now be used for 13 species and one product matjes herring. This upgrade is primarily designed for fish distributors and buyers with emphasis on the Dutch market where matjes herring is a major product. The app is also useful for consumers who wish to check the freshness of the fish they buy and take home.

Virginal herring

Matjes herring is a herring product that is extremely popular in the Netherlands. The majority of the herring consumed in the Netherlands is caught and produced in Norway.

Matjes herring, or in Dutch maatjesharing meaning virgin herring, is sold at snack bars ready-to-eat, in shops to eat at home and at restaurants. Dutch consumers prefer the herring when it is caught in the spring, as the fat content is optimal, and in order to receive the designation Hollandse Nieuwe the herring must have a fat content of at least 16 per cent.

During gibbing the gills and part of the gullet are removed but the pancreas is left in. The pancreas releases enzymes that ensure that the herring matures in the right manner and that the meat develops the characteristic taste and soft consistency. Dutch people often eat the fish in the traditional way by holding the tail and eating the whole herring in one go, often together with finely cut onion and pickles.


The app from Nofima is extremely user-friendly. In a few steps, it is possible to evaluate if there are any discrepancies with the fish product, if it retains the correct freshness and how long it has been on ice. The app is based on the Quality Index Method (QIM).

This is a standardised method for evaluating the freshness of fish, which was developed by scientists from several European research institutes and is now used worldwide, says Project Manager Joop Luten at Nofima.

This update will be available in Norwegian, English, German and Dutch. Since its launch in May 2011, the app has been downloaded in more than 50 countries. It is free of charge and available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. An android version is planned for 2013. The updated app have been made available in the app store on 18 December 2012.

The application is financed by Nofima and was developed in collaboration with Imares Wageningen UR in the Netherlands.