IKEA Plant Balls - 5

Its existence is sacrosant, its place in the IKEA shopping experience as renowned as one-way walking routes and flat-packed furniture. But now, in a sign that there's no stopping the veggie juggernaut, IKEA is launching a plant-based alternative to its iconic meatball.

The Swedish furniture giant revealed that from 3 August, it will be offering plant balls with just four per cent of the climate footprint of the original meatball, contributing to its ambition to become climate positive by 2030.

Made using plant-based ingredients including yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apple, plant balls are said to offer the same taste, look and juicy bite of the original IKEA meatball, but be suitable for all tastes, from meatball lovers to flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans.

IKEA said the inspiration behind the launch is to inspire more sustainable eating and lifestyle habits. In providing a looks-like-meat, tastes-like-meat plant ball, it said it hopes to make it as easy, accessible and affordable as possible to enable more sustainable choices.

Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager at IKEA UK and Ireland, said: “At IKEA, we are committed to having a positive impact on people and the planet. In order to reduce the climate footprint of the total IKEA business, including our food business, and make climate-friendly, delicious food available for everyone, we are making sure meat alternatives are an easy, desireable and affordable choice. With the new plant ball we can now offer meat lovers a great-tasting, more sustainable alternative – without compromising on the IKEA meatball experience that is loved by so many.”

In its restaurants, IKEA customers will be able to consume the new plant balls in the same way as the traditional meatball dish: with mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and cream sauce and at the same price of £1.50 for eight, or £2.75 for a 500g bag at the Swedish food market.

Some 50 per cent of the food range in IKEA restaurants is now plant-based or vegetarian.

IKEA set out its People and Planet Positive strategy in 2018, announcing its ambition to become a fully circular and climate-positive business by 2030. This means reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits and ensuring all products are made following circular design principles, as well as being made of renewable, recyclable and/or made of recycled materials.