The Swedish furniture company says it is introducing vegan meatballs in its foodhalls worldwide in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
Two years in development, the new, healthier “veggie balls” will be made from chickpeas, carrots, peas, peppers, sweetcorn and kale – and will not require an Allen key to assemble.
As a result of containing no animal products, their associated carbon emissions will be half those of the traditional meatball, Ikea claims, adding that manufacturing and cooking them will also use less energy.
And since every year approximately 775 million people visit an Ikea store somewhere in the world – more than a tenth of the world’s population – the arrival of the veggie ball should win over a raft of new converts to greener eating.
Ikea chief executive Peter Agnefjall said the company saw a “big opportunity” with the launch of the vegetarian meatball, which will be rolled out in the UK in May, a month after its international debut.
“The vegetarian meatball will go global in April and have 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than a normal meatball. It’s healthier and better for the planet,” he said.
Ikea was founded in 1943 in Sweden and began selling food alongside its flat-pack furniture in 1959. Each year it sells a billion of its regular meatballs in its 361 stores around the world – five million in the UK alone.
An Ikea spokesman said its food range is being expanded in order to “meet the different preferences of our customers” – including the increasing popularity of healthy and delicious meat free food.