Each year, Ikea sells more than a billion meatballs at its in-store restaurants. But the furniture company is now hoping to convince more customers to choose a plant-based version instead. In August, it will launch a new “plant ball” in European stores. US stores are set to follow in September.
The company first started experimenting with plant-based meatballs in 2014, though the new recipe, made with a mix of yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onions, and apples, looks and tastes more like its traditional beef-and-pork version. (Ikea will still continue to offer its first veggie meatball, which wasn’t designed to mimic meat.)
The cost for the dish—$1.25 for a side, or $5.99 with a plate that comes with mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and vegetables—is the same as the meat option. Making the snack from plants shrinks its carbon footprint to just 4% of the original meatball.
Even though food makes up a small fraction of Ikea’s overall carbon footprint, the cafes in its stores make it one of the world’s largest restaurant chains. The Swedish meatball is one of the iconic items on the menu, but the new plant ball is likely to sell well: The first veggie meatball accounted for 15% of total meatball sales.