Vegans Will Soon Be Able To Access Plant Based Meatballs, Says IKEA

Veganism is on the rise, and people are embracing the trend of droves. According to a Mintel report, consumption of dairy between 2000 and 2017 fell 24%. Between 2012 and 2017, consumption of plant-based milk like coconut and almond milk rose by over 60%. Interestingly, Sweden’s IKEA is also jumping onto the vegan train, and customers will soon buy vegan meatballs in various outlets.

Ikea to leverage its famous meatballs

For a long time, Ikea has sold furniture to millions of people across the globe. During the same period, the company sells diners to hungry customers. To be sure, Ikea sells about 650 million dinners annually to customers all over the world. In 2016 alone, the company made sales in the region of $1.8 billion. Interestingly, some customers owned up and said they love Ikea for the food and not for the furniture and cookware.

A part of the millions of dinners are meatballs. In a press release, the company unveiled a fresh ambition to serve plant-based meatballs to its customers. The furniture giant specified that the new offering will taste and look meat but will be made from alternative proteins derived from plants.

Interestingly, the driving force behind Ikea’s venture into vegan meatballs is something out of the vegan playbook. In part, the press release reads, “The food industry is facing many challenges, and often they are closely connected to sustainability. Research shows that to feed growing population, 70% more food will be needed until 2050 and that currently, existing protein production cannot meet that demand.”

The intention is both strategic and a shot at sustainable food production.

First tests for vegan meatballs set to happen next year

The release further specified that first customer testing of the new offering will happen in 2020. However, deliberate steps have already been made before 2020. According to the company, the first vegan ball was released in 2015 in select markets. This product will continue to appear on menus in the markets even after the introduction of the new variety of meatballs.

Ikea is a major chain with a globally recognizable brand. The chain has over 400 sites under its control globally. According to Michael La Cour, the managing director for Ikea food services, the company is considering soy, wheat, oats, and even peas as key ingredients in the upcoming product.  

The vegan controversy

Ikea anticipates to ride on the vegan wave to boost its revenue. Already, companies like Beyond Meat are performing incredibly well with the company having gone public, and the share price is hot in the market. However, the craze for plant-based foods is raising eyebrows in some place like Belgium.

Reports indicate that about 3% of children in Belgium follow a vegan diet. Typically, the diet avoids dairy products, eggs, and meat. Also, foods which contain ingredients derived from animals are excluded. However, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium advised that teens, children, nursing mothers, and pregnant women do not follow exclusively plant-based diet. According to the recommendation, the diet is restrictive and results in “unavoidable nutritional shortcomings.”