Sweden-based furniture and home goods giant IKEA has recently announced that it will be adding a new, greener option to its menu: vegetarian Swedish meatballs. The internationally known store has already made itself famous with its non-vegetarian Swedish meatballs, sold out of each massive store’s restaurant and bistro. It’s no secret that the store’s meatballs have become the favorite menu item of store patrons, who enjoy them as a treat before, after, or while shopping for their home goods.
IKEA has never before offered a vegetarian Swedish meatball option, but the company says that it is planning to start doing it now as part of a new effort to join the eco-friendly “green” movement. IKEA has started to voice some concern about its carbon footprint and the role it could be playing in the global warming crisis. The company hopes that the new veggie meatball option will help them to be less carbon intensive, as currently, the non-vegetarian Swedish meatballs are the most carbon intensive item on the menu. This is in part because of the current meatballs’ pork and beef contents, and the high carbon dioxide emissions involved in the farming of cattle, as well as the methane gas produced by them. The carbon intensity also in part due to the popularity of the meatballs, resulting to mullions of them being sold. IKEA sells an estimated 150 million meatballs each year at its 300 world-wide stores combined, and last year, the company estimated that roughly 700 million patrons would eat food in one of its cafeterias, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Popular for its inexpensive, yet still high quality furniture which is packaged to be assembled by the customer, IKEA has practically become a household name. What is often not realized, however, is that the company brings in about $2 billion in annual revenue from just their food industry alone, which is enough to rival the likes of at least a couple major fast food franchises. A concern since the company’s announcement that it would add vegetarian meatballs to its menu has been that altering the recipe of the famous product might possibly result in a drop in sales. IKEA, however, seems confident that this will not be the case. Last year, during a scare where meatballs were recalled for containing horse meat, IKEA workers say that customers were still asking for the meatballs, so it is unlikely that sales of the popular product would be affected.
IKEA also says that, in addition to the veggie meatballs, it has a new chicken meatball in the works, and this product has already been tried out in two different IKEA stores. The brand says that its intentions at this point are to work with environmental companies and wildlife charities to see how it can decrease its negative environmental impact and its carbon footprint, but this is at least the first step.
Though IKEA has confirmed its plan for the vegetarian meatballs, it has not yet announced the official date that it plans to add them to its menu.
By Laura Clark