Late last month during the UN Food Systems Summit, Sweden-based furniture, and home accessories giant Ikea pledged to make 50% of its food plant-based, a decision that reflects a shift in consumer diets. The Swedish retailer, also one of the world’s largest restaurant chains, will ramp up its plant-based food options while cutting down on red meat in a phased rollout of new products over the next five years.
The move aligns with shifting consumer preference changes globally says Ikea, which in 2019 saw over 680 million customers eat IKEA food in its restaurants, bistros, and the Swedish Food Markets. According to the brand they also commit to 80% non-red meat in their foods by 2025 along with 80% of the packaged goods sold at the Swedish Food Markets within their stores becoming plant-based within the same timeframe.
With sustainable foods also comes a heightened cost, a barrier to change for many brands. To address this, Ikea has committed to having comparable pricing for meat and meatless products so that eating sustainably and doing good for the planet can be affordable for everyone.
The brand is “taking a full value-chain approach to contributing to sustainable food systems, from responsible sourcing of materials to reducing food waste along the value chain; circular and more sustainable packaging; and using the Ikea reach to make healthy and sustainable food options available to as many people as possible,” said Peter van der Poel, managing director for Ikea of Sweden and manager of Ikea range and supply.
In August, Ikea announced the launch of the plant ball, made with yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion, and apple. The meatless meatball has a substantially lower climate footprint at 4% of the classic meatball’s impact. Several other versions were also cooked up — the salmon ball, chicken ball, and veggie ball — to cut down on the use of ground beef.
“IKEA wants to make healthy and sustainable choices the most desirable option, by for example demonstrating that plant-based food can be really delicious,” added Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer at Inter IKEA Group. “Research confirms the importance of making sustainable products affordable and desirable, and IKEA can really make a positive difference here. The more sustainable choice shouldn’t be a luxury for the few. It should be part of people’s everyday life.”
What we like: Increasing plant-based options while not eliminating the classics – consumers like to feel that they have a choice.
What can be improved: The plant ball doesn’t sound very appetizing. But as long as the cranberry sauce stays I guess we’re good.