Ikea’s big change to beloved item


Everyone loves Ikea's classic Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, those little lingonberries and creamy sauce - except maybe vegans and vegetarians.

The Swedish retailer sells more than one billion meatballs every year and now it has created a more sustainable plant-based meat alternative it hopes will appeal to meatball lovers, flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans alike.

Ikea's new meatless "plant balls" will launch in Ikea stores around the country today, with the same price and trimmings as the meatballs.

At the moment, Ikea offers vegetarian versions of its famous meatballs, but a new alternative made from plant-based protein has been added to the menu. They're made with a mix of yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apple that apparently "looks and tastes like meat".

Packets of take-home frozen plant balls will also be available at the stores' Swedish Food Market as well as to eat in store.


To celebrate, the Swedish retailer is giving away free tastings of the new "meatless meatballs" today - but there's a catch.

There are only 150 random free tastings - and you need to keep an eye on your Twitter account.

To get your free "plant ball" tasting, you need to watch out for a digital "plant ball" to slide into a direct message on Twitter.

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The Ikea plant-based “meatballs” have all the same trimmings as the traditional meatballs.
The Ikea plant-based “meatballs” have all the same trimmings as the traditional meatballs.

Ikea recently incorporated a "veggie hot dog" to the menu and Ikea's Tempe branch in Sydney's inner west already introduced a popular veggie buffet.

"Now the plant ball continues to contribute to our goal of including more plant-based ingredients in the range at affordable prices, and most importantly, still being delicious," Ikea said in a statement.

"With a climate footprint of only four per cent of the classic Ikea meatball, the plant ball contributes to the Ikea ambition to become climate positive by 2030."

With a billion meatballs eaten every year, Ikea's Health & Sustainability Manager Sharla Halvorson said the plant-based option could make a difference to its climate footprint.

"Imagine if we could get some of our many meatball lovers to choose the plant ball instead. If we were to convert about 20 per cent of our meatball sales to plant balls that would mean around 8 per cent reduction of our climate footprint for the food business at Ikea," she said in a statement.

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Ikea sells a billion meatballs a year. Picture: Annette Dew
Ikea sells a billion meatballs a year. Picture: Annette Dew

The furniture giant hopes the plant balls will be "just as, or even more famous than the meaty one".

In fact, Ikea aims to eventually have the majority of its items made from plant-based products, and to increase the quantity of those items by 20 per cent by the end of the 2022 financial year.

Ikea Australia's Head of Food, Ivana Frost, previously told news.com.au that there's an obvious trend of moving towards more plant-based and healthier food options, especially in Europe.

"We have found our customers asking for more plant-based ingredients on the menu and for more variety here in Australia," Ms Frost said.

Vegetarianism and veganism have been on the rise across the globe in recent years, and even Australia, a country famed for its love of meat, is embracing the movement.


Originally published as Ikea's big change to beloved item