The Big Change Coming To IKEA's Famous Swedish Meatballs

Everyone's favorite furniture store meatball is getting a makeover — and we are here for it. In IKEA's pursuit to reduce its carbon footprint and become a more sustainable retailer, the company is introducing "the plant ball" (via Real Simple). IKEA's plant ball is the plant-based alternative to their traditional beef and pork Swedish meatballs, commonly found nestled alongside creamy mashed potatoes and sweet lingonberry sauce, and enjoyed by the billion each year. Literally — in IKEA's announcement about the change to their famous Swedish meatballs, Health & Sustainability Manager, Sharla Halvorson said they sell more than one billion meatballs every year. 

Halvorson said the key to reducing IKEA's climate footprint is reducing the number of traditional meatballs sold. A billion meatballs per year adds up to quite a bit of ground beef, and a lot of cows. Cows, their gas emissions, and the deforestation associated with beef production play a significant role in global climate change (via World Resources Institute). The new plant-based meatball carries only 4 percent of the original meatball's climate footprint. Nothing goes better with a good, sturdy Poäng chair than an environmentally-friendly meatball.

IKEA's new "meatball" was designed to taste just like the original

If you are a meat eater but still love the planet enough to partake in a plant-based meatball, maybe you're wondering if it will taste as great as the original beef and pork version. Good news — IKEA has your back. The chef and project leader at IKEA food, Alexander Magnusson, said in their announcement, "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." This means people of all dietary preferences will now have access to the brand's iconic Swedish meatball delight, and the welcome respite it provides from an exhausting day of shopping for shelving units. 

The plant ball is made from yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion, and apple, and will be served in the same manner as the original — with cream sauce, mashed potatoes, and lingonberries (IKEA does note that if served in this traditional manner, however, the dish won't be vegan as it will include dairy ingredients... the plant balls themselves, though, are vegan). A plate of plant balls costs the same as the traditional meatballs and will launch in the EU in August of 2020, with North American stores to follow. The plant balls will also be available in frozen form from the Swedish Food Market so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own Docksta dining room table at home.