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Ikea expands famous meatball range to include plant-based option

The Swedish retailer Ikea’s famous meatballs have gone vegetarian with a new plant-based option going on sale in Europe, and headed for Asia Pacific soon.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the current packaged Ikea frozen meatballs and other foods have gone on sale in Market Place supermarkets operated by Dairy Farm Group, which is also the Hong Kong and Macau operator of Ikea stores.

The ‘plantballs’ from Ikea are made with fresh ingredients such as yellow pea protein, oats, onion, apples and potatoes to recreate the classic dish for the health-conscious market. Ikea said in a statement that the new plant ball only has 4 per cent of the carbon footprint of the original food.

The new range will launch in the EU next month before becoming available in Ikea stores in North America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific after a few months.

“At Ikea, we sell more than 1 billion meatballs every year. 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,” said Sharla Halvorson, health & sustainability manager for Ikea international.

Ikea said it targets to inspire more consumers to have a more sustainable eating and lifestyle habits that can create a positive impact to others and the environment.

“In order to reduce the climate footprint of the Ikea food business, we need to reduce the amount of traditional meatballs that we sell. With the new plant ball we can now offer meat lovers a more sustainable alternative – without compromising on the Ikea meatball experience that is loved by so many,” explained Sharla.

It will be available at the Ikea restaurants which will be served with mashed potatoes, lingonberries and cream sauce. Shoppers can also purchase a bag of frozen plant balls from the Swedish Food Market to cook at home.

“In the development phase of the plant ball our key objective has been to recreate the meat-like taste and texture, only using plant based ingredients. We have tried and tested different ingredients and methods and we are very pleased with the final results,” said Alexander Magnusson, chef and project leader at Ikea food.

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