The Surprising Ingredient That Could Be In Your IKEA Hot Dog

IKEA does not really get the credit it deserves for the genius way it combines food with its retail operation. How they manage to prevent all the pristine white furniture from being permanently tarnished with ketchup droppings is beyond the scope of scientific knowledge. (There's good reason why clothing stores are hesitant to let people march through with food!)

Restaurants have been a theme in IKEA outlets since 1956 when the company's founder, Ingvar Kamprad, realized the need to keep customers fed in his enormous stores (via IKEA's website) that might otherwise require a packed lunch to fully navigate. The IKEA food court is now a common theme — and the hot dogs are a firm favorite of many customers.

Even though IKEA's bargain dogs are tasty enough to be worthy of some foodie recognition, a further look into them — including a statement supplied to Mashed by the brand's rep Krista Boyer in 2019 – found that the frankfurters may not be quite as they appear. As it turns out, IKEA hot dogs may actually be made from a combination of beef and chicken.

Here's the truth about IKEA hot dogs

In some parts of the world, IKEA hot dogs are made with all chicken, as seen on an official international website. While the US IKEA Food Facts website doesn't currently list chicken as an ingredient, it was at least in 2019 when the rep confirmed chicken and beef were combined to make their hot dogs. Currently, ingredients are listed as pork and beef. 

As bizarre as it may seem, the inclusion of mechanically separated chicken in foods is fairly common in items including chicken nuggets, chicken patties, and yes even hot dogs (via The Daily Meal). The USDA describes mechanically separated meat as a paste, stating that it's safe to eat in all cases unless it's mechanically separated beef, which is considered inedible per their standards.

The confusion can possibly be explained by IKEA's global hot dog variations. Countries are served food according to their local tastes, including a mammoth double hot dog in Turkey and a deeply doughy hot dog bread in Sweden (via Apartment Therapy).

If IKEA's unusual use of meat has put you off, you could always try its veggie hot dog (made from onions, kale, lentils, quinoa, and wheat protein — via IKEA's website) or just make a meal out of their delicious desserts.