Home furnishing giant IKEA is about to launch a new plant-based meatball this year. Called a “plant ball”, the Swedish company claims that their latest vegan-friendly version comes at only 4% of the environmental footprint compared to its traditional meatball. After initially rolling out across its locations in Europe this August, the plant ball will be made available globally in the following months.
Not stopping after the success of their existing plant-based “veggie ball”, IKEA has created another vegan version called the “plant ball”. Made from yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apples, the company claims its new plant-based meatball tastes even more like the real deal, while being far more environmentally-friendly than conventional meat – carrying only 4% of the carbon footprint when compared to its traditional meat-based Swedish meatballs.
“In order to reduce the climate footprint of the IKEA food business, we need to reduce the amount of traditional meatballs that we sell,” said Sharla Halvorson, the health & sustainability manager at IKEA, adding that it is part of the firm’s goal to become climate positive by 2030.
The firm doesn’t just want to attract herbivores with its new plant ball, but is hoping to get long-time meat lovers and flexitarians on board. Given that the Swedish chain sells an astonishing 1 billion meatballs every single year, the impact that a simple switch by consumers to the vegan version could have on reducing emissions could be huge.
“If we were to convert about 20% of our meatball sales to plant balls that would mean around 8% reduction of our climate footprint for the food business at IKEA,” Halvorson explained. “With the new plant ball we can now offer meat lovers a more sustainable alternative – without compromising on the IKEA meatball experience that is loved by so many.”
Vegan substitutes are far more sustainable choices because they do not require as many resources to produce. According to the United Nations, livestock farming is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and drives other ecologically destructive practices such as deliberate deforestation due to its high land use.
“In order to reduce the climate footprint of the IKEA food business, we need to reduce the amount of traditional meatballs that we sell.”Sharla Halvorson, IKEA Health & Sustainability Manager
In 2018, a life-cycle analysis conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan found that plant-based meat alternatives need 99% less water, 93% less land, 46% less energy and emits 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions in production compared to conventional beef.
IKEA’s plant balls are slated to launch in August across its locations in Europe, before rolling out the product in North America, Middle East and Asia-Pacific later in the year. It will be available in the grocery frozen section under the name “HUVUDROLL” for US$5.99 per 500-gram bag, as well as served in the chain’s restaurant section. The dish will be served with mashed potatoes, peas, lingonberry sauce and a non-vegan cream sauce for the same price.
All images courtesy of IKEA.