(Updated July 16, 2020) | IKEA US is launching new vegan meatballs on September 28. This follows the official EU and UK launch slated for August.
The new “plant balls” were made to look and taste like meat and are made from a combination of pea protein—the primary ingredient in the Beyond Burger—, oats, apples, and potatoes. According to the Swedish furniture giant, its carbon footprint is 95 percent smaller than a traditional meatball. In restaurants, it will be served with mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and cream sauce. Customers will also be able to purchase frozen plant balls.
“At IKEA, we sell more than one billion meatballs every year,” Sharla Halvorson, Health & Sustainability Manager for the IKEA food business globally said in a statement. “Imagine if we could get some of our many meatball lovers to choose the plant ball instead. If we were to convert about 20% of our meatball sales to plant balls that would mean around 8% reduction of our climate footprint for the food business at IKEA.”
IKEA first introduced veggie balls in 2015, consisting of a vegetable-forward blend of chickpeas, green peas, carrots, and carrots. The company announced last May that it was working with leading industry suppliers to develop a more realistic vegan meatball.
IKEA and Sustainability
Sustainability is part of IKEA’s core mission. The company launched its Environmental Action Plan in 1992, championing a framework that uses minimal materials, packaging, and energy.
Vegan food has also become part of IKEA’s sustainable ethos. The company aims to become “climate positive” by 2030 and offering more plant-based food is one way to do that.
“In order to reduce the climate footprint of the IKEA food business, we need to reduce the amount of traditional meatballs that we sell. With the new plant ball, we can now offer meat lovers a more sustainable alternative – without compromising on the IKEA meatball experience that is loved by so many,” said Sharla.
Over the past few years, IKEA has taken steps to increase its sustainable plant-based food options. The chain’s vegan veggie dogs were met with high customer approval following last summer’s launch. Other options include vegan seaweed-based caviar, dairy-free oat milk smoothies, and vegan soft-serve ice cream. The chain eventually plans to introduce the dairy-free ice cream globally.
In addition to food, IKEA will attempt to source wood from more sustainable sources, use more recycled materials, and experiment with refurbishing products.