Six hundred and sixty million customers a year served in over 400 stores, across 49 countries. ‘Food has been a part of IKEA since the early days – the first restaurant opened in 1959,’ says Freyja Frimannsdottir, corporate communications manager for IKEA Food. ‘The hot dog has a long history at IKEA. In 1981, founder Ingvar Kamprad cut its price to half that of competitors in Sweden so all IKEA visitors had something quick, convenient and truly affordable to enjoy – he used to say it’s hard to do good business on an empty stomach!’ For current managing director of IKEA Food Michael La Cour (main image) and his team, good business still means developing a range that is delicious, easy and affordable but also healthy and sustainable. Enter the vegetarian hot dog! ‘The rise in plant-based diets isn’t a trend, it’s a movement,’ says David Johansson, a product developer on the IKEA Food team. ‘We wanted a tasty plant-based hot dog with red lentils, quinoa, carrot and kale as the base. It’s just had its three-month taste test in the Malmö store. The results are very positive!’
‘We taste tested the new veggie hot dog in Sweden’s Malmö store – 9 out of 10 tasters loved it! So from August we’ll start rolling it out to IKEA stores worldwide’
As the IKEA Food product development team look for new ways to help us boost the plant-based side of our diet, Freyja serves up what’s been and what’s to come.
First came veggie balls ‘They launched in 2015. Our veggie balls were the first steps IKEA took to offer a wider variety of more healthy and sustainably produced food. Customers like them. Veggie balls served in traditional Swedish flat bread is a recent addition to bistro menus in some countries.’
The new twist on an old favourite ‘People’s interest in food, especially food that’s good for them and the planet, continues to grow. Plant-based ingredients are more sustainable than red meat as the CO2 emission per kilo is significantly lower. The new veggie hotdog is a more sustainable option that caters to the needs of the many people: vegetarians, vegans, flexiterians and anyone who enjoys good food!’
With more exciting news to come ‘Look out for a new member to the IKEA ‘eatball’ family – the salmon ball. It will be made from ASC-certified salmon, cod that’s MSC-certified and seasoned with seaweed and lemongrass – it’s the flavours of the Nordic sea captured in a tasty ball. And we’re exploring the possibilities of plant-based ice cream!'
The veggie dog will be available in Europe from August 2018, the US from autumn, and elsewhere from early 2019.