Swedish retailer claims plant-based alternative to its popular meatballs come with just four per cent of the climate footprint
IKEA is to begin offering a plant-based alternative to its popular meatballs across its UK stores from next month, in a bid to "make it as easy, accessible and affordable as possible to enable more sustainable choices" among its customers, the company announced yesterday.
The Swedish retailer said the plant balls would offer "the same great taste, look and juicy bite of the iconic IKEA meatball" but with just four per cent of the climate footprint, meaning one traditional meatball has the same climate impact as 24 plant balls.
Made from a range of ingredients including yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onions, and apples, the plant-based balls are designed to be suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians alike, and will be available at IKEA bistros and Swedish Food Markets from 3 August.
Initially priced at £1.50 for a portion of eight at Bistros, and £2.75 for a 500g bag to cook at home, the plant balls are then set to be rolled out across all IKEA restaurants from 26 October, the company said.
The move forms part of IKEA's drive to become a "climate positive" business by 2030, by which point it aims to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than emitted across its value chain, as well as ensuring all its products are made following circular economy design principles.
Hege Sæbjørnsen, country sustainability manager for IKEA UK and Ireland, said 50 per cent of the range of food available in IKEA restaurants was now plant-based or vegetarian.
"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," she said. "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."
It is just the latest major move in the food retail sector to cash in on the rapidly growing number of consumers cutting down on their meat intake and switching to vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets in response to a combination of health, environmental, and animal welfare concerns.
A raft of fast food chains, including McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC have all begun offering plant-based meat alternatives across their restaurants, following in the footsteps of the huge success of bakery chain Gregg's vegan sausage roll, which first launched in early 2019.
In related new this week, craft beer giant and pub chain BrewDog revealed it is expanding its partnership with plant-based burger brand Biff's to offer what they claim is the UK's biggest vegan food delivery service.
Following the launch of BrewDog's first all-vegan pub in partnership with Biff's in East London last year, the two firms plan to create new home delivery hubs for vegan burgers, wings and fries at existing BrewDog and Draft House bars across the UK.
The first 11 sites are already serving Biff's-branded vegan food for delivery from BrewDog and Draft House bars in London, Manchester, Reading, Norwich, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff, with the number of outlets set to double in the coming weeks, the firms said.
In addition, Biff's jackfruit burger has been added to BrewDog's main bar menus nationwide, according to the craft beer firm's retail director James Brown.
"Delivery is a huge part of our retail strategy for the next few years, with the launch of BrewDog Now App in all markets globally to bring fresh draft beer to your door within the hour," he said. "The Biff's partnership adds another income stream and opportunity to deliver great craft beer to people's homes alongside some killer vegan food."
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