Ikea is famous for inexpensive flat-pack furniture and Swedish meatballs, but the company is looking to expand its menu with a new line of vegetarian “meatballs” in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
According to The Telegraph, Ikea’s meatballs are the least environmentally-friendly item on the menu, but they’re also by far the most popular item. Ikea sells about 150 million meatballs a year.
"We are aware of the meat issue with greenhouse gases,” said Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea in the UK. “We are looking at all our food products from a sustainability perspective but specifically meatballs. They are very popular and they are also our most carbon-intensive food item on our menu.”
Yarrow said Ikea is working to tweak the meatballs to make them more environmentally friendly, and it’s also working on developing vegetarian “meatballs” and chicken meatballs.
Ikea hopes the new recipes will go over well and that selling vegetarian and chicken versions will help reduce the amount of regular beef and pork meatballs they sell, but the original meatballs will still be on the menu. Ikea briefly removed them during 2013 when they were found to contain horsemeat, and some customers vehemently objected to their absence.
“We had people begging us to put them back on the menu whatever was in them," Yarrow said.