While a plate of Swedish meatballs has long been a standard part of an IKEA visit for omnivores, vegetarians endured the shopping trip on an empty stomach. Now, they hunger no more. IKEA has just announced its new plant ball, which allegedly has all the taste of a meatball but only 4% of the climate footprint.
The plant balls will launch across Europe in August, before rolling out across the world. Served in IKEA‘s in-store restaurants, these plant balls will accompany the classic meatball plate, alongside mashed potatoes, vegetables, cream sauce and lingonberry jam. Both the meaty and meatless meals will cost the same price. Customers will also be able to buy the meals in IKEA’s Swedish Food Market for home preparation.
“At IKEA, we sell 1 billion meatballs a year,” Sharla Halvorson, Health & Sustainability Manager at IKEA Food, said in a press release. “Imagine if we can convert even some of those into plant balls. That’s a real tangible reduction in our climate footprint.”
IKEA first introduced its meatballs in 1985. Departing from the classic recipe, the new plant balls use pea protein, onion, potatoes, oat bran, dried apple and rapeseed oil. The resulting texture mimics that of real meatballs.
Environmental concerns drove IKEA’s decision to offer a plant-based alternative. According to IKEA’s statistics, people can reduce their carbon footprint by up to 73% by eliminating meat and dairy products from their diet. The company estimated that 70% of IKEA Food’s greenhouse gas emissions come from beef and pork. IKEA Food has set a goal of offering 20% plant-based dishes by 2022.
Alexander Magnusson, Chef & Project Leader at IKEA Food, emphasizes the plant balls’ versatility, suggesting that customers preparing them at home could add them to an Indian curry or serve them with kimchi. “Is this a Swedish meatball without meat?” he said. “Well, not exactly, but we’ve added the same sort of ingredients. The plant ball actually tastes more than a meatball, in a good way.”
Images via IKEA