IKEA has made notable commitments to increasing its vegan food ranges. It is upping the plant-based stakes in its restaurants, at its takeaway counters, and in the food halls. But which items are worth trying?
Pledging to make its menus all 50 percent plant-based by 2025, IKEA is offering consumers access to more sustainable choices. Next time you’re shopping for furniture, consider trying the following vegan items:
What is it?: ‘Plant balls’ that don’t try to imitate meat and a newer pea protein version that replaces beef with ease. This is a timely reminder that IKEA likes to use one product name for a large number of variations, so always check your selection. Conventional animal protein meatballs are called Huvudroll as well. #confusing
Made from: Plant balls are made using chickpeas, carrots, peppers and kale, amongst other vegetables. The meat substitutes use pea protein, apple, potato and oats to get a realistic bite.
Ideal for: The plant balls are an alternative to falafel. Fry them up, add to a pitta and enjoy. The alt-meat versions works as a direct substitute in any dish you would traditionally have beef or pork meatballs in. The more you can season them, the better.
What is it?: Vegetable hot dogs that don’t try to hide the veggies.
Made from: Kale, lentils, quinoa, onion, and carrot.
Ideal for: A healthy alternative to the ultimate Friday-night treat meal. Also works in bangers and mash! Kids seem very fond of these.
What is it?: Self-dispensed soft ice cream. Different countries release special flavours, according to local preferences. Strawberry and vanilla have proven popular in Europe.
Made from: Soy, so not allergen-friendly but still a good option.
Ideal for: A post Market hall treat and great motivation for getting through the checkout hell (you can normally see the machines from the till point). An easy treat for youngsters too.
What is it?: Plant-based mince.
Made from: Pea protein.
Ideal for: Meat-free dishes that traditionally have you reaching for minced beef. It can be used to make burgers, meatballs and sausages too, which feels like a step up from a lot of mince recipes. It also leans into the IKEA trope of having to build things yourself, so you decide if that’s a good thing or not.
5. Ch*cken nuggets
What is it?: As the name suggests, chicken nugget-like items.
Made from: Unknown and no details about the food manufacturing partner have been released as of yet.
Ideal for: Hungry little shoppers who need a mid-point break. The nuggets are offered as part of a kids’ meal deal. Larger plant-based chicken strips are available for adults, but let’s be honest…you’ll want the nugs too.
What is it?: Gummy sweets in a variety of incarnations.
Made from: Sugar, spice and all things nice. But no gelatin. Double-check the version you select as some of the foam items have beeswax in them. And only buy the salted liquorice if you’re sure! We have warned you.
Ideal for: The car journey home. Yes, you’ll already be full of hot dogs and ice cream but there’s always room for something sweet as you navigate whichever industrial estate you have driven into.
What is it?: Vegan caviar. Yes, you read that right.
Made from: Kelp seaweed. The pearls are entirely vegan and offer a comparable ‘pop’ to real caviar.
Ideal for: Feeling really fancy. Whip up some blinis and get out the plant-based sour cream to create some extra special snacks. Be warned, these are very salty and taste of the sea.
Outside of regular company-wide food releases, regional specialities crop up from time to time. Seasonal releases of note have included Japan’s Plant-Based Gyudon Beef Curry, released as part of a sustainability drive last year. Indonesia has previously unveiled Green Rebel dishes, in a show of local support and most recently, 3D printed vegan meatballs were created as part of a recruitment marketing campaign.
There are vastly more vegan food items to enjoy from IKEA but these tend to fall into the crispbread/cracker/dry goods realm. These aren’t considered unusual or innovative enough to include as individual items, though they are delicious. IKEA was also an early adopter of Oatly, with multiple flavours, including an orange and mango oat drink, all stocked in stores throughout the world.
All photos by IKEA.