‘Veggie balls’ were introduced in 2015, but IKEA wants to up its plant-based game.
Plant-based meat alternatives are nothing new: Boca Burgers and Tofurkey have been around for decades. Instead, what defines the latest plant-based push has been the search for better meat alternatives that further mimic the taste and texture of actual meat: That’s been the killer app for companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Along those lines, Ikea isn’t new to offering vegetarian options. The Swedish brand introduced veggie balls as a vegan-friendly alternative to its famous meatballs in 2015 and added a veggie hot dog in its cafeterias last year. But in the current climate, Ikea has realized that a lot has changed in just four short years, and the company says it’s already developing a new, more meat-like plant-based meatball.
In announcing the decision, Ikea explains that it’s currently “collaborating with some of the leading suppliers within the industry doing the first tests and tastings of the plant based alternative protein meatball.” The brand says it hopes to eventually serve these meatballs in all of its restaurants around the world, but the first consumer-facing tests likely won’t begin until early next year.
“It is a really exciting industry! Looking at the quality of the products that we have been tasting, I am looking forward to serving a delicious plant-based meatball made from alternative protein at Ikea. I hope that the many meatball lovers out there will like it as well,” Michael La Cour, managing director at Ikea Food Services AB, said in a statement. “We see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options and we want to meet that need. Our ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable and affordable, without compromising on taste and texture.”
Upon their introduction, these new plant-based meatballs would be the fifth member of the Ikea meatball family after the traditional meatball, the veggie ball, the chicken ball, and the salmon and cod ball.