THE NETHERLANDS, Delft. A vegan meatball alternative is undergoing product development at Ikea Food, which managing director Michael La Cour says will help get the company’s menu to 20% plant-based by 2022.
Swedish meatballs make up a significant part of Ikea's brand identity, with the family-owned retailer selling one billion of the pork and beef products globally every year. “That is our icon product,” Ikea Food managing director Michael La Cour told delegates at the World Food Summit last month.
Yet the company is 'challenging that now' with the development of a new alternative protein meatball, due to launch in Europe next August. The company plans to bring the new offering to North America and Asia Pacific 'a couple of months' later.
While still in the development phase, the new product prototype contains a number of ingredients that have a connection to Swedish cuisine, such as pea protein, oats, potato and apple. A full nutritional assessment will be made once the recipe is finalised.
Ikea's primary ambition for the alternative meatball is to reduce the environmental impact of its value chain. “We know that plant-based food has a smaller climate footprint compared to red meat and first calculations show that the climate footprint of the alternative meatball is significantly lower compared to the traditional meatball," a spokesperson said.